In our Blogs we focus a lot on the subject of Transition. Consistency is so key to successful potty training that learning how to navigate change along the way is crucial. A successful nursery-to-school transition will not only help your child’s ongoing success in potty training and avoid the risk of regression, but also support their growing independence and confidence in other areas of life.
The transition from nursery to school is one of the biggest of your young child’s life. They may be excited, nervous or impatient (or all the above) about beginning their new school life.
Let’s not forget that this is an important stage for parents, too. You will probably feel both anxious and excited about this new stage. It’s important to do all you can to improve your own confidence and, in turn, support your child’s learning and development.
Take advantage of any opportunities as they arise. Attend every school event that provides the opportunity to meet other families in the same boat. This will give you a forum to air any concerns, ask questions and share your thoughts with other parents.
It’s also a good idea to visit the school with your child, in a formal and informal setting, to make everything a bit more familiar. It will increase your child’s confidence by making the new school environment somewhat less daunting.
Ask staff for information on the daily school routine and explain it to your child. They will be embarking on a whole new routine so having a bit of pre-prep will help them along and inspire confidence.
A few weeks before your child starts their new school, create a morning routine at the times they will have to adopt for school to include waking up, getting up, washing, changing and eating breakfast. They do not have to know this is preparation for school at first - this can be talked about nearer the time once they have become used to their new routine.
Create the idea of school as something fun for your child. Have mock school days with their siblings or friends where they wear their new uniform and learn a lesson, with you or one of the other kids acting as the teacher.
Take a walk/drive along the route they will take to their new school. Set up coffee dates with the parents of children who will be in their class to give your child some familiar faces when September rolls around.
Encourage older children, such as cousins or family friends, who already attend school to chat with your child about it in a positive way. This will help to soothe any anxieties and fear of the unknown. You can also buy them something brand new that they will use for the first time on the first day of school, such as a pencil case, lunch box or school bag with their favourite TV characters on. Let them see it early on to build up excitement until September.
Recent studies have shown that helicopter parenting has a negative impact on children once they start school. As they are used to being the centre of attention, suddenly becoming just one in a class of 30 is hard for them to deal with.
Take a step back and let your child get on with things on their own so they don’t get a shock when school begins. Encourage their independence in the smallest of tasks. This is important both for confidence and because your child will naturally take on lots of new responsibilities when they start school. This might include getting undressed/dressed for PE classes and going to the toilet on their own.
Helping your child to become independent before starting school is also commonly known as school readiness. This is all about helping your child to focus and begin to use skills that will see them through their school years.
This includes sitting quietly and listening during activities, sharing and playing well with others, adaptation and self-care, such as washing their hands after going to the toilet. It also means learning to ask for help only when they need it and don’t just want attention. Supporting your child in gaining these skills will further help prepare them for the school environment.
We are big believers in communication and reading stories is one of the best ways to prep your child for the nursery-school transition in a fun and accessible way. Books create great talking points and you can even choose your reading matter to focus on any specific problems that you anticipate. It will also help children to voice any concerns they have in a safe and supportive environment.