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How to Prepare Your Child for Starting School

December 29, 2023 4 min read

A mother walking her daughter to school

Preparing a child for school can be taxing on both the parent and the child. The fear of the unknown can bring about stress and anxiety. You were probably used to specific routines and having to change almost everything from sleeping patterns to meal times can be challenging.

While some children might be excited to start school, others may not feel school-ready and become quite anxious. You see, a school is an entirely new and structured environment. The separation anxiety, meeting new people, and adapting to school rules might overwhelm your child and could affect their social and emotional well-being.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so hard. A little bit of planning early enough and doing a few things to help prepare for school will go a long way in easing the transition. 

Let’s look at a few tips that you might want to consider when preparing your child to start school. 


7 Tips to Get Your Child Ready for School

1. Set a Routine

Studies have found that maintaining a routine lowers anxiety levels in both parents and children. If your child is about to start school, have a routine similar to what they’ll be following once they join school. If your child has been sleeping late at night, ensure they eat their meals and go to bed early enough so that they can wake up early. This way, by the time they start school, they will have adapted to the routine and won’t struggle to wake up in the morning.

2. Read About the First Day of School

Children can get quite anxious about joining school and being away from the people they’ve been used to. However, you can reassure your child that it will be fine and that they’ll have fun at school. To help your child know what to expect, read them a joyful book about the first day at school. Knowing what to expect will help ease the tension so they may even look forward to starting school and meeting new friends.

3. Watch Cartoons on Starting School

If your child loves watching cartoons, find a cartoon about starting school so that they can see what to expect. Seeing children at school playing and interacting with friendly kids and teachers could help dispel any fears the child might have. If they seemed anxious before, you might notice that they get excited and eager to start school.

4. Talk to Them About Starting School

It’s best to start talking with your child about starting school a few weeks before the commencement date. Make sure to talk positively about school life and avoid negative talk that might affect their perception of school. If you hated school because you were bullied, don’t tell your child so. Instead, focus on the positive but tell them what to do in case someone upsets them. Whatever you tell your child can either make them like or dislike school.

5. Calming Exercises

If you notice that your child is getting anxious shortly before starting school, engage them in calming activities. Breathing exercises are a great way to help an anxious child relax. Colouring is also a form of therapy to calm your child. It’s been found to have positive effects on people with depression and anxiety. Besides, colouring helps kids develop fine motor skills that will help them in school. 

When a child is just starting to learn how to colour, they’ll make quite a mess. You might even lose count of how many colouring books you buy. However, with a Little Change Creators colouring set, making a mess will never be a problem. Little Change Creators' Re-FUN-able™ colouring sets are designed with fun and mess in mind. Your child can get as creative as they desire since the colouring set comes with a cloth eraser and 12 markers in addition to the durable silicone colouring mat.

6. Visit the School Before

Once you identify the school you want your child to join, it’s important to visit the school with your child before the starting day. Visiting the school will help your child familiarise themselves with the school environment and interact with teachers. This way, your child will have an easier time adjusting to school, and the new environment won’t feel so strange.

7. Teach Them Self-Care Skills

Starting school requires some level of independence. While the school staff will be there to help, your child needs to have some basic self-care skills since help might not be as readily available as it was at home. These self-care skills will ensure that your child doesn’t feel stuck, helpless or uncared for in a new environment. 

Some basic self-care skills you might want to polish up in preparation for school include feeding, washing their hands, toileting, and nose-blowing.


Signs of Anxiety in a Child

Getting your child ready for starting school isn’t always easy but it doesn’t have to drive you nuts. With proper planning, you’ll both adjust easily to the new changes. If anxiety kicks in, affirm your child and help them relax. 

Be on the lookout for common anxiety signs and symptoms in your child so that you can intervene early. Anxiety in children might not be so obvious but watch out for behaviours like being very clingy, wetting the bed, irritability, sleeping difficulties, inability to concentrate and constant crying.


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