School Readiness How Can I Prepare My Child

How can I help prepare my child for starting primary school?

There are a few simple things that children can practise at home which can help the first few weeks of school go smoothly:

1) Making mistakes

It’s helpful if your child is able to do things like using the toilet on their own, being able to put on and take off their coat, socks and shoes, and using a fork and spoon when they are eating… BUT don't think that they have to be able to do all of these things all of the time.

Most children will have accidents and make mistakes sometimes – it's quite normal. It's really important for children to try to do things for themselves...even if they find those things tricky. See if you can find time each day to encourage your child to practise small ways to look after themselves such as going to the toilet or putting on their own coat, and praise them for trying even when they don’t get it perfectly.

Paying Attention

2) Sitting still and paying attention

When they’re in the classroom, children need to sit and listen to their teachers and classmates for short periods of time. You can practise sitting still and paying attention together by encouraging your child to share books, games and puzzles with you at home. Turn off the TV, phones and computers so you can concentrate and talk about what you are doing together.

3) Talking about thoughts and feelings

It’s really important for children to be able to talk about what they think and feel, so give your child lots of opportunities to talk to you and other people. Try asking questions that encourage them to say more than just “yes” or “no” so they can practise using lots of words.

So instead of ‘Did you like the story?’ try saying, ‘What did you like about the story?’ Give them plenty of time to think about what they want to say, and remember to start with words they already know, before gradually adding new ones. Don't forget to talk about feelings, and the things that can make them feel happy, excited, sad or worried.

4) Big and little movements

Movements (2)

Encourage your child to make both big and little movements when you’re playing together. Big movements like running, jumping, climbing, throwing and catching can be practised outside, while little movements such as painting and colouring, sorting small objects like buttons, or using a squeezy bottle of water will really help when they learn to write.

5) Sticking with it

When your child is learning new things, it’s important that they keep on trying, even if they find things tricky. Give your child lots of praise when they try and don't give up, and let them know that it's ok to make a mistake.

We often learn lots from mistakes and they can help us get better at things in the long run! Help your child to think of lots of different ways they can solve tricky problems, like trying to find a lost toy, not winning a game or learning to fasten their laces.

Getting Along

6) Getting along with others

Meeting and playing with different children can help your child develop their confidence and social skills, but you can also prepare together by acting out different situations with toys. For example, ‘How can teddy ask to join in and play with the dolls?’ Playing games that involve turns or rules, such as board games, are also good for practising how to get along with others. This way, they can try out some of the skills they’ll need later to make friends. 

7) Being curious

Being interested and curious about the things around us is really important for learning. Encourage your child’s natural curiosity by talking to them about things, people and places when you are out and about.

Try to listen and answer their questions, and encourage them to find out more by looking at books or looking up things on the computer together. Try to see the world through your child’s eyes, and talk and wonder about the everyday things you see and hear!

 

 

How do I know if my child is ready to start school?

The basic skills your child needs to have the best possible beginning at school.

How do I know if my child is ready to start school?

How can I help prepare my child?

Skills you can practice together at home to help the first few weeks go smoothly.

How can I help prepare my child?

How can I prepare myself?

There are several ways in which you can look after and find time for yourself.

How can I prepare myself?

Helpful links

More practical advice, resources and information for families about this big step.

Helpful links