The term ‘being school ready’ is one which is spoken about frequently, especially in the build up to when a little one starts school, but what does it actually mean? You may be surprised to know that very little of it actually means being academically ready. Yes it is good for a little one to be able to recognise numbers, colours and perhaps some letters and to be able to hold a pen/pencil, but schools are really keen for new starters to:

  • Be toilet trained
  • Able to get themselves dressed and undressed
  • Recognise their name
  • Be able to socialise with other children
  • Be able to use cutlery
  • Be able to keep their things together in the classroom and start to take responsibility for their possessions
  • Follow instructions

How to be school ready

Starting school can cause anxiety for everyone (including parents and caregivers!), especially when it’s their very first day in Reception or at a new school!

Here are some top tips to hopefully ease the anxiety for everyone:

  • In the lead up to your child’s term starting, frequently walk or drive past their new school to familiarise them with where they will be going
  • Have a little treat planned for them at the end of their first day or week (even if this is an ice-cream in the park or a playdate with a little friend) so they have something to look forward to if they are needing a distraction at drop off!
  • Some schools will send children welcome videos in the lead up to the term starting. I would encourage you to show this a few times to your child and also photos of the school. This will help with familiarising them with where they will be going.
  • For your little ones very first day in reception, if they are particularly anxious, it might be worth thinking about putting some of your perfume on their wrist or clothing so if they become anxious during the day then they can smell the perfume for reassurance.
  • Please also ensure you reassure your little one that it is ok to feel all sorts of emotions on their first few days! Chat through emotions and identify with your little ones how they may be feeling. Do some exploring with them to gather how they are feeling about their upcoming change!
  • Draw a heart on your child’s wrist and then one on yours. If they are feeling wobbly, they can look at the heart and remember they are connected to you
  • Have a good bedtime routine, and morning routine, which is calm and consistent- there is nothing worse than having a stressful morning before school!
  • Be reassured if you notice a change in their behaviour in the first few weeks of school- this is completely normal and hopefully with time and consistent routines and boundaries, it will settle down
  • Please don’t forget to be gentle on yourselves those first few days- ensure you have some self-care time as your little one starting school can be an emotional roller-coaster!

If you feel you would like further support with your little one starting school, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at NEST!

Take care and don't forget to look after yourself too!


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