Parents should be assured that there are a number of actions that they can take at home to support children at this time. The suggestions below are suitable for all children, but you will know how best to engage your child in the way that she/he enjoys. As a rule, children learn best when learning experiences are relaxed, playful, and unhurried. There are many opportunities in the everyday routines of the home that will support children’s development and help them prepare for going to primary school. Here are a few suggestions to get started.
Support your Child’s Independence Skills by:
- Encourage and practise independent dressing. Let children dress themselves and put on their own shoes.
- Encourage and practise independent eating. Children can help with setting out place settings and cutlery for the family meal. Children should pour their own drinks and butt er their own toast (at the child’s skill level). Encourage children to clean up when finished eating.
- Encourage and practise toileting. Children should use the toilet independently where possible and wash and dry their hands.
- Try not to do any task the child can do for themselves, even if it takes a bit of time.
Support your Child’s Emotional Wellbeing by:
- Responding positively to your child’s desire to play as much as possible inside and outside the home.
- If your child is stuck when doing something, allow them to keep trying, as this builds their perseverance and confidence.
- Discuss and name your child’s feelings to help them understand their emotions and develop coping strategies to deal with different feelings. This is an important skill called ‘self-regulation’ and will be very important in helping children to deal with the anxiety of starting school.
- Talk to your children about primary school, what are they expecting it to be like, what are they looking forward to, or what might they be nervous of? Reassure them of any fears.
- Visit the primary school to have a look at the building/playground and talk about how your child will get to school each day.
- If the school they will attend has a uniform, show your child some photos of the school uniform, or discuss what they will wear to school.
- Tell them about other children they may know that already attend the school, maybe you know some of their pre-school friends also going to the same primary school.
- Together with your child, set up a primary school play space over the summer including their lunch box, school bag, paper and crayons/pencils, books etc.
For more information visit https://first5.gov.ie/userfiles/files/download/ee102ba70404f6ce.pdf
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