I have one changing school this year, last year I had one starting school for the first time. Transition can be a worrying time for a child at any age and it’s important to recognise this and help make it as smooth and easy as you possibly can.
My top three tips are:
1. Listen without interrupting, allow them to say how they are feeling rather than telling them how you think they are feeling. Don’t badger, they may be absolutely fine and your words may actually prompt fear rather than soothing it. Create opportunities for chatting by asking a positive question such as ‘What are you looking forward to most?’ which should also prompt them to talk about anything they are not looking forward to. Chat over gloop…we have had some of our deepest conversations over a tray of the gloopy stuff!
2. Take them with you to buy uniform and indulge in a new bag and stationery. Allow them to choose it. If money is tight give them a budget (if they are too young to grasp this tell them they can choose, say, three things from a selection of six or ask them to choose ‘either this set or this one’ – you may need to go on a reconnaissance mission first so you know what you are getting in to!) It’s important that they feel they are getting ready and have some form of control rather than just being pushed along the way.
3. Worry points are going to the loo, where to hang your bag and what happens at lunchtime. Remove this worry by telling them you will be taking them in to the classroom on the first day (and if they are just starting school probably for many days!) and will show them where to put their things and where the loo is. Packed lunches are an easy option when they are just starting out, you can see how much they have eaten and they are faced with the familiar. Tell them the teacher will explain everything and that it is fine to ask if they are not sure of anything!
Lola is her usual inimitable self in ‘I am Too Absolutely Small for School ‘
There is also a wide range of books to help children who are moving on to secondary school.
Headline have very kindly sent me a copy of the Netmums book Getting Ready to Start Schoolfor me to give away to one lucky reader! It is packed full of useful information and practical advice from parents who have already been through it as well as from experts in the field.
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is leave a comment below (one entry)
If you’d like a second entry tweet ‘I’m entering @christinemosler’s competition to win a copy of Getting Ready For School http://wp.me/pPrLb-YJ
Competition closes August 8th at midnight. UK entrants only. Winner will be selected using an online number generator. My decision is final.
What would be your top tip for the transition from home to school, class to class or first school to secondary school?
Edited 9/8/11 to announce: The winner is C Holmes/@Lianneholmes. Congratulations! Email/DM your postal address and I’ll get it sent out to you!