Sending your child to school for the first time, whilst exciting, is a big step for both you and your child! It is normal for parents to have many questions and worries running through their minds. The following are five tips to help ensure your child experiences a successful transition to Kindy in 2017!
You want to ensure little fingers can successfully manage lunchbox lids, containers and packets without support from an adult.
Think about the types of food you will pack your child:
Sandwich – A sandwich wrapped in cling wrap may be more difficult to manage than a sandwich in a snap lock bag or a small container.
Yoghurt – How easy is the lid to open? Will it spill out if little fingers push too hard? Can your child successfully use a spoon to eat it, or would a squeeze tube be easier?
Fruit – Think about whether your child can peel the piece of fruit (i.e. banana) or whether the child can bite straight into the fruit (i.e. apple). If you suspect your child may have difficulties consider whether you can pack bite sized fruit pieces instead.
2. Drink bottle
Find a drink bottle that your child can easily recognize! You may like to choose it for the colour, size or a particular symbol on it. Find a drink bottle t your child can easily open and close, and manage drinking from easily, without coughing or spillage.
This may mean trialing different options over the summer holidays to determine which bottle works best. This will make sure your child stays well hydrated throughout the Kindy day!
3. Practice, Practice, Practice!
Allow your child to have practice runs of eating their school lunch. A great way to do this is to go to the park, and allow your child to practice eating typical foods you are planning on packing for school. Make sure you bring your own lunch in a lunchbox to provide a model for your child!
This practice will give you a great opportunity to watch how your child goes with managing opening and closing their lunchbox, manipulating food packets and having a drink from their drink bottle. This is a great time to also model social expectations such as sitting down with crossed legs to eat lunch and placing rubbish in the bin.
4. School uniform
Once you have purchased your child’s school uniform, make sure your child practices wearing it for extended periods of time. This will give you a good opportunity to see if your child has any sensitivity to the uniform, such as itchy seams or tags. It may help to soften the uniform by washing it a few times.
Another helpful skill is for your child to be able to manage pulling their pants and underwear on and off when going to the toilet at school. If the uniform has difficult buttons and zips, an elastic can be added to allow for increased independence with taking pants on and off for toileting.
5. Ease anxieties
Drive past the school during the summer holidays and talk about what will happen there! If you know of any children who will be in your child’s Kindy class, try and organise a playdate over the summer break.
The beginning of Kindy marks a time in a child’s life where their independence and confidence begins to flourish separate from their parents. Be kind to yourself and your child and embrace the new experiences as you both embark on the next step in your child’s journey in life!