I can’t believe how quickly the last five years have gone ! I am now preparing “Baby J” as my sister used to call him for big school…..
Making the move to primary school while exciting for some children can be stressful for others. In our case ( and in most cases ) the preschool were super in introducing the topic to the kids and taking the edge off and just chatting in a relaxed manner about the move.
Considering James is my first to hit “big school” maybe I’m a bit of a fraud writing this post but I’m going to share how we are prepping for this big milestone none the less !
Here are just some of the ways we are preparing;
Reading books on the topic of starting school.
In the last few weeks I purchased and borrowed (from the library) some wonderful books that gave James an idea of what school will be like and were a great way to open conversation.
As a result of reading these books we have spoken about such topics as other people’s feelings, making friends and the posibilty of new rules and different routines to name but a few.
You may find this blog i have posted interesting as it is a list of my top 10 books to prepare your little one for school.
Chatting about “Big School”.
We have been casually chatting about the school and answering James questions for 6 months plus now. We wouldn’t make a deal of it as such just show the school to him passing, mention that a child or children we met were at the school, talk about our own experiences in primary school and even tell some funny stories.
Luckily as a child I had a positive experience in school but that said I didn’t really like going either.. I never mention this to James and always talk about school in a positive manner. It’s so important not to let your own personal feelings influence your child we all know how quickly they pick up on these things !
Visit the school / Attend any open days.
Most schools have an open day and it is a great oportunity to get the feel for the school and potentially meet some classmates if you have not already.
If you can’t make the open day or feel that it would be overwhelming to your child be sure to phone the school and organise a visit. It’s good that the child feels comfortable in the setting and knows what to expect.
Organise play dates / make a buddy !
In a lot of cases someone in your little ones circle, childcare facility or preschool will be attending the school but not always.
No one from James circle or preschool will be starting with him in September so we made it our business near the end of term and during the summer to take James to a small local beach where children from the school and some who would start with him in September frequented.
He now knows a few lads in the older classes ( and looks up to them !) and also now has a few little buddies that will be starting in his class. I’m also hoping to organise a play date or two before the end of the month to make his transition as smooth as possible.
Aside from the emotional preparation there are other areas which you can work on to improve confidence….
It is important that the child recognises their own name so that they are confident in finding their coat hanger etc. This may seem like a small thing but if your child is anxious and/or upset the littlest thing like not knowing where to hang their coat or what desk to sit at can really upset them as you can imagine.
It is also important that the child is confident in recognising colours, shapes and talking about their family etc again so that they don’t feel out of their depth amount their peers.
Encourage independence at home eg; in the area of toileting, dressing, self hygiene etc as this will help them to be self sufficient at school.
Make sure the week before school is relaxed.
Try to minimalise stress in the house by having books,uniforms etc all sorted in plenty of time and if you have to do any trial travel runs do so in plenty of time.
If you cannot drop your child to school yourself make sure they are comfortable with the child minder/neighbour or whoever is bringing them and again do so in plenty of time.
Sleep and well being.
We’ve started getting back into our 7pm bedtime routine since last week to ensure my little people are in tip top shape and well rested as we all know lack of sleep messes with the emotions at the best of times and they will also need to be fresh to learn !
A lot of people give their kids a tonic or vitamin supplement in the lead up to the school term and considering we are fighting chicken pox as we speak I’ll certainly be having a chat with the pharmacist to get some advice on how to have him feeling his best for the big day !
Some tools to combat or deal with anxiety or worry.
Pop one of your favourite oils on a tissue so that if the child is feeling anxious than can inhale and breathe it in. Just be sure to use a good quality therapeutic grade oil Here are some of the best oils for anxiety ;
- Ylang Ylang
- Roman Chamomile
Guatemalan Worry Dolls.
On a recent trip to London I grabbed a few of these for my two fairies and my niece as I remember having these as a preteen and found them useful.
Based on the legend of a princess that was given the gift of never carrying a human worry Guatemalan worry dolls are given to brooding or sorrowful children.
The children tell their worries to their dolls and hide them under their pillows as they sleep and the following morning all the worries have been taken away by the worry doll.
Quite some time ago I can’t remember why in particular I bought my little man a tigers eye stone to give him courage and he responded well to it and has kept it with high regard.
It’s yellow/golden brown colour makes this stone very attractive but also gave it its name as it resembles a tigers eye.
They originate mostly from south Africa and the tiger eye is a powerful stone that helps to release fear and anxiety and helps restore harmony and balance in the body.
Traditionally carried to ward off curses and I’ll wishes this gorgeous stone is known to give courage, strength and self concious to all who hold it and is a lovely gift to give to anyone starting a new adventure or going through a hard time.
Make sure to clean your healing stones and crystals see how here;
Other tips I received from other mums
Spray some of your perfume/body spray etc on the cuff of your child’s jumper and when feeling a bit anxious they can get “your smell ” which will help them relax.
Draw a love heart on your hand and theirs so that you can think of ea h other through the day when you look at the heart.
As in seen in the book Ná Gabh ar scoil you can kiss your hand, put it in their pocket so that they can retrieve a kiss at any stage during the day that they feel uncomfortable.
What have I left out ladies ?! Have you suggestions !Do let me know …