The time has come – your baby is growing up and getting ready for school. One day you’re picking out baby nursery furniture and the next you’re shopping for school supplies! This can be a very exciting time, but it can also be daunting for both child and parent.
How do you prepare your child for the change, and how do you make sure they are excited to learn and grow? In this blog post, we will tackle these questions and give you some tips on making the transition as smooth as possible!
Is your child ready for school?
First and foremost, it is important to remember that every child is different and will therefore react to the change in their way. Some children may be ready for school from the get-go, while others may need more time to get used to the idea.
There are a few things you can look out for to gauge whether or not your child is ready for school:
Are they at the proper age?
Let’s start with the foremost criterion – age. To attend school, your child must be at least five years old by December 31st, the year they start school.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but parents should remember that not all children develop at the same rate. Just because your child is five years old does not necessarily mean they are ready for school.
If your child was born closer to the cut-off date (December 31st), you might want to consider holding them back a year to have more time to mature. Keep in mind that it’s never a good thing to rush a child into school.
Are they socially ready?
Another important factor to consider is whether or not your child is socially ready for school. This means that they can separate from you (their parent) and be around other children without getting too upset.
Are they showing an interest in learning?
Observe your child if they are keen on learning new things. Do they like being read to? Do they ask a lot of questions? If your child shows a genuine interest in learning, they may be ready (and even excited) for school!
Do they enjoy socializing with other children their age?
If your child has trouble socializing or playing with other children their age, they may not be quite ready for school. School is a great social environment, and your child has to know how to interact with other children.
Try to remember yourself at that age. Were you shy? Did it take you a while to warm up to new people and places? If so, your child may need a little more time before they are ready for school.
If your child is having trouble making friends, you may want to consider enrolling them first in a program like daycare. This will help them get used to being around other children their age and may make the transition to school easier.
Can they follow simple instructions?
Children have to be at the right age, but they also have to be capable of understanding and following simple instructions to succeed in school.
Some parents send their children to school even if they are not following instructions well, thinking that the teachers will be able to help them out.
However, this is often not the case. If your child is having trouble following simple commands at home, they will have trouble following instructions at school.
Do they feel comfortable in new environments?
School is an entirely new environment for your child. There will be new people, new places, and new routines. It’s only to be expected that your child may feel uncomfortable at first.
However, if your child is constantly feeling anxious or stressed in new environments, they may not be ready for this phase.
How to encourage your child to be excited about school
If you feel your child isn’t yet ready for the challenges schools will bring, don’t worry. You can do plenty of things as their parent to prepare them and even get them excited for their journey! Here are some tips:
Read books about school together.
Before your child reaches school age, start reading books about school with them. This will help them understand what to expect and get them excited about all the new things they will get to learn.
Reading about school will lessen their anxiety about starting this new phase in their life, so when the time comes, they will be more than ready!
Make a big deal about growing up.
Nothing hypes up a child more than feeling like they are finally a “big kid.” Make a big deal out of the fact that they are growing up and getting ready for school.
Get them proud of the transition by getting a bed or childrens bedding, a backpack, and new “grown-up” clothes with their favorite characters on them.
Get them school supplies.
Get them their school supplies as part of the “big deal” of getting ready for school. Let them pick out a special lunchbox and water bottle that they can take to school.
This will help make going to school feel more real for your child and get them even more thrilled about it!
Encourage them to help you with things around the house.
As your child grows older, start involving them in more activities around the house. This will teach them responsibility and give them a sense of ownership and pride.
Check if they can understand and follow simple instructions like, “Please put your toys away” or “Can you help me set the table for dinner?”
If they can-great! If not, don’t worry. Just keep working with them. Children are very smart and catch on quickly!
Take them to meet their teacher.
A few weeks (or months) before school starts, take your child to meet their teacher. This will help them get comfortable with the person who will teach them and make the transition smoother.
You can even schedule a visit to the school so they can see where they will be spending their days. Talk about school to them and sound excited! The more you show that you are excited about school, the more likely they will feel the same way.
Praise their efforts and encourage a positive attitude.
Whenever your child does something good, make sure to praise their efforts. This will encourage them to keep up the good work and have a positive attitude.
It’s also important to be supportive if they make mistakes. Let them know that it’s okay to mess up sometimes and that they can always try again.
When should you start encouraging school readiness in your child?
While we’d love to give you a definitive answer, the truth is that every child is different. Some children may be ready for school as early as two years old, while others may not be ready until five or six.
As a general guide, you can start giving them responsibilities and introducing the concept of school to them at around age three or four.
And by the time they’re five or six, they should be more than ready to start their school journey!
But the best way to know if your child is ready for school is to observe their behavior and see if they meet the criteria mentioned above.
If they are, great! If not, don’t worry-there’s no rush. Just keep working with them and supporting their efforts.
School is a big step for any child, but it doesn’t have to be scary with a little preparation! By following the tips above, you can help your child ease into this new phase of life and even get them excited about it. Just take things one day at a time and enjoy watching your baby grow up!