For those that are starting school, it can be an emotional time. There is the excitement of a coming of age moment, when your little one is spreading their wings and exploring a whole new world. There is also the worry of them leaving you, will they like it, will they make friends, are they prepared for it?
Working in partnership with parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi, LeapFrog is providing parents with practical tips and activities that they can practice with their children over summer. The brand has recently launched its latest educational toy, LeapStart, an interactive learning system which aligns with the school curriculum and teaches children key school and life skills. (Review from W, our resident 4 year old, coming soon)
Liat Hughes Joshi comments: “A child’s first day at school is such an emotional time for the whole family. It’s important to remember that in preparing for this day, it’s not about competitive parenting, but more about giving children the skills to make sure they can be confident and happy and ease into this new stage in their lives”. Her top tips for parents who have children starting school this year are:
1. DO talk to them about the idea of school – tell them about your own positive school experiences and find out any specific concerns they have about not having mum or dad around.
2. DO attend settling-in days to help them to feel more relaxed – they’ll be able to meet the teacher and experience the classroom environment. Point out things they will be able to enjoy next time they come to school, such as the playground.
3. DO help them find a familiar face if your child isn’t starting school with friends from their existing nursery or preschool.
4. DO arrange a meet up - ask among local friends to see who has a child starting the same school and arrange meet ups if you can, like a picnic or a visit to the local playground.
5. DO teach them ‘self care’ – like undressing and dressing themselves for PE – practice this over the summer with clothing that has zips and buttons.
6. DO teach them how to eat independently with cutlery, get them chopping and slicing their food as much as possible.
7. DO toilet train them (again!) so they know how and when they can ask to use the toilet, how to wipe up and wash their hands properly.
8. DO practice counting up to 10 in your daily activities, as this forms the core of maths learning in the first year of school and start looking at basic sums, using practical items around the house.
9. DO introduce books and stories so your little one can see how letters correspond to sounds and words to sentences. Sharing stories and pointing out specific sounds is a gentle way to introduce this.
10. DO teach them to recognise their name so they can find their coat peg or spot the name label on their jumper in a pile of others.
11. DO see using apps as a positive to help – we all worry about too much screen time but good quality, well designed apps can be an engaging way to learn.
12. DO encourage basic etiquette, namely taking turns and listening when others speak.
13. DO practice sitting still! Practice for half an hour at first and introduce sedentary activities, for example, completing a jigsaw puzzle, to help with this.
14. DO role play to help your child to feel comfortable approaching and talking to their teachers and to not be intimidated.
15. DO take time to reassure them of any anxieties, even if you’re feeling worried yourself!
How are you and your little ones feeling about this school term? I'd love to read your comments below x