Preparing your little one for Big School: tips and tricks from a Mommy and Teacher, as some of us will say, a Teacher Mommy.
It says it all: tall walls, big kids, more classes and don’t forget the bell that rings! Having your Grade 00 become the small fish in a big pond can be very scary for them and for you as a parent.
Here are our tips and tricks on how you can help your child prepare for the transition:
- Once you pick up your little one from preschool, drive past their new school and let them familiarise themselves with the school building and the new environment. Talk together about what a typical day at primary school will be like. If your child has any concerns, encourage them to share them with you.
- Set up a calendar so they can mark down the days and sleeps until primary school.
- It is often hard to say goodbye to old friends when moving to a new school and making new ones simultaneously. Usually, most of the new students are also looking for new friendships. Have a conversation with your child about how they can make new friends. Re-assure them that they can still maintain their preschool friendships with playdates.
- Go through all the different situations your child might encounter at school that threaten safety. Please discuss the importance of communicating with their teachers, handling cases that make them uncomfortable, leaving the school grounds unattended, and road safety issues.
- Establish the routine you will follow during the school week. The parents who didn’t need to pack lunchboxes for their little ones can also take this time to start prepping lunchboxes EVERYDAY. Let them eat porridge/breakfast at the same time you would have to eat before leaving for big school, have their first snack as they would for their first recess etc., so that their tummies can get used to the new timetable. It is like having a buffet for a week, and then it is back to normal, and your tummy rumbles the whole time because you could eat whenever you wanted to and how much you wanted to over the holidays. Practice the morning routine of getting up early, having breakfast, putting on your child’s uniform and packing the school bag. Try to have everything ready the night before to reduce stress and rushing.
- An easy trick/tip for children with separation anxiety: Sprite a little perfume or deodorant on your child’s collar so they can always smell you and feel your presence all day long.
- The most important thing is to speak positively about school (children pick up on your anxiety). Share your favourite memories of school when you were a kid. Connect school subjects/activities with your child’s interests (e.g. if your child likes soccer, talk about the school’s gym).
It is completely normal to shed a tear when your child starts school. We wish all the parents the best! Enjoy your child’s school journey with them, and cherish the moments you spend together. During these years, it is important to make memories filled with laughter and enjoyment.”
Dream big in the big school!