Build your child’s confidence before they start school

Starting primary school can be very stressful for your kids and for you too! Being separated from their parents, perhaps for the first time, can make the day seem miserable and endless. It’s good to start preparation now!

10 tips to help your child feel more confident before they start ‘big’ school

1) Read them lots of starting-school stories so they get an idea of how things are going to be … these days there are lots of really fun ones to choose from but read the reviews before you buy and preferably go to a shop and have a read yourself first. Some are criticised for introducing worries that children wouldn’t actually have thought of … Of course it’s also important to pick one that is right for your child’s own personality 2) Listening to the audio I love school at bedtime has been an amazing source of comfort and strength for these 4 to 6 year olds … and their parents too! Go here to listen to a sample

Confidence building activities

3) Encourage your child to have lots of little visits to helpful family or friends without you for an hour or two. Little and often is best just to get them used to your not being there all the time. Pick people they have really good relationships with already. If grandparents live close by they are often a very good ally. 4) Gradually get them used to being dropped off and picked up from these relatives and friends without your having to stay there a long time before you leave. Always be on time for picking up so they don’t worry that you aren’t coming back. And once they actually start at school always, always be on time for picking up. 5) Encourage them to be able to ask for things themselves without you doing it for them for example get them to ask for little things in shops and hand them the cash to pay. Go to cafes, restaurants, cinemas and encourage them to speak for themselves instead of you doing it for them.

Invaluable practical activities

6) Show them how to put the right shoe on the right foot by themselves. You can help by drawing half of a smiley face in the left shoe and the other half in the right so that when they put them on they match like a puzzle. 7) Teach them how to recognise their name so when they are looking for their coat or their peg it makes it easier to find. Talking of names, make sure you label everything! 8) Invite your child’s friends over to play, particularly some that will be going to the same school if possible. 9) Another thing they need is to be confident in how to use a knife and fork. Apparently lots of little ones don’t know how to do this. 10) Possibly almost most important of all, make sure that they can use the toilet by themselves and if at all possible, visit the school before hand and show them where the toilets are. This is a real source of worry for many kids.

Some feedback on my ‘I love School’ audio

“Just wanted to give you feedback on the ‘I love School’ CD. My 3 and 5 year old sons absolutely love it. They have to listen to it every night and have it installed on their iTeddy mp3 player and ask for Lynda!!! Great cd!” Another child cried every morning and clung to her mum when she left and didn’t settle at all. Mum bought ‘I love school’ and played it at bedtime every night and by the end of the first week her little girl had stopped crying and by the end of the second week she went in happy and stayed happy all day! By the way, if you’re feeling stressed about it all, there are plenty of audios to help you feel calm and you can actually get a free download here called Calm your mind.