Practical Preparation for Children
If at all possible, aim to establish term time routines for your children a good seven to ten days before they are due to start school or nursery.
Regular nap times, bedtimes and meal times will make it easier for everyone once the routine of school or nursery sets in. Try and maintain a simple routine prior to the start of the school year. Before bedtime, spend time with your child, speak about your own childhood experience at nursery or school to encourage your child to speak about their feelings or even anxieties.
Some children find transition harder than others. You can counter this by talking about your child’s new class, teacher or school in a positive way to help avoid those anxieties. Most nurseries and schools would have invited you and your child for a visit to meet their teachers. Speak to your children about what they remember from those visits and what they would choose to play with when they enter the classroom.
Where possible, add a positive angle to the issues that might be worrying your child; therapists call this reframing. Let them express their feelings and as much as possible and lead them to “label” those emotions: worry, fear, anxious, excitement and so on. These are normal feelings, and our role as parents is to accommodate them. If you have a picture of the future classroom or school, you can share a story about it. With older children, you can ask: “what could be the worst that can happen”? “What can be the best scenario?” One of our roles as parents is to be emotionally available for our children.