Thursday, 17 December 2009

Top Tips - Starting School


• Set up clear routines – organise bed-time, meal-time and "getting up" routines; children then know what to expect, and behaviour is easier to manage too.

• Aim towards an "authoritative" parenting style – be caring and encouraging, use lots of praise and avoid being too critical or harsh.

• Use rewards as well as praise to encourage good behaviour, and give clear guidelines about what you expect from your child.


• Help your child make friends by arranging play dates with children who will be in his or her class – and get to know their parents too.

• Teach your child sharing and turn-taking.

Concentrating and listening

• Teach your child to sit and play quietly for 10-15 minutes and to complete activities once started (such as finishing a picture). Also, encourage your child to listen to, and act on, simple instructions.


• Develop your child's language by talking to him or her about things you are doing together and about the things around you.


• Read a short story to your child every day to help develop vocabulary and awareness of books, printed words and letters. This is good for bonding too.

• Do lots of nursery rhymes and "I Spy" games to help develop your child's awareness of sounds within words; this is very important for early reading development.

Early number skills

• Provide lots of opportunities like shopping, cooking and setting the table to practice counting, comparing the size and shape of objects, measuring and creating patterns.

Preparation for writing

• Do lots of pre-writing activities and games, like painting, colouring in, dot-to-dot, and pattern-making to develop pencil control.

For a happy first day at school

• Prepare you child for the very first day at school by helping him or her feel comfortable about separating from you (and you from your child!) for short periods.

• Make sure your child knows in advance what to expect from the school day.
And finally,

• Take a sensible and balanced approach to progress; there is a wide range of what is normal.

• Do as well as you can – and relax: you don't have to be the "perfect parent".

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