I thought I'd share some of the things we have been working into our days over the summer in order to give Honey the best chance of making a smooth transition in September. These things don't take up much time but, as a teacher myself, I can assure you that your child's teacher will be grateful!
- Practise opening packets and boxes independently. Even if your child will have school dinners, there will be occasions when they need to open boxes and packets for themselves. For example, if the fruit snack is raisins or if they take a packed lunch on a school trip.
- Drink from the 'school' water bottle. Honey's school suggested a specific bottle with a lid in her house colour. Honey liked this idea so we bought one but the lid is unlike any of the bottles she has used before, so she's been drinking from it over the holidays to get used to the unfamiliar opening and closing mechanism.
- Try on school uniform and talk about when and why each item will be worn. Amongst her uniform stash, Honey has a striped dress which she thinks is just about the coolest item of clothing ever, so I have had to explain that it's a dress specifically for summer and she won't be able to wear it year round. Honey had no idea what PE was but as soon as I started to explain the type of activity she would be doing, she understood why she would need to get changed and why certain items of clothing were more suitable than others. We have gone for trousers and shorts for her day to day uniform which she questioned at first so I took her to the park wearing a dress the other day and it really got in her way! Now, she's really excited about being able to clamber freely all over the trim trail and play area on our walks home from school and can't wait to hide stones in the pockets of her cargo shorts!
- Make sure your child can dress and undress themselves independently, this includes shoes! Honey really wanted some shiny, black lace ups but she didn't fancy putting in the time it takes to learn to tie them at this point so we have gone for super quick velcro instead! Make sure they can pull their tops and bottoms on and off without too much drama and if you're planning for your child to wear tights, give them a pair to practise with (perhaps consider trousers or long socks instead on PE days).
- Help them recognise their belongings. You could add a sticker or coloured piece of paper in the name window of their book bag or sew on a patch on to their PE bag. Honey designed her own book bag charm alongside the wonderful Rachel from Kito baby UK so she will hopefully be able to pick hers out in a sea of identical bags!
- Chat positively about school and walk past occasionally if it's close by. Honey loves heading to the park via our school walking route. She likes peeking through the fence to see what the children at holiday club are doing and chats about what her teachers might be up to that day (ok, that makes her sound like a stalker, she's not).
- If possible, get hold of a school dinner menu and chat about what different options are available. If there are things on there that your child has never tried, consider cooking them for tea over the holidays and if there are things that your child 'doesn't like' (i.e. has never tried but has irrationally taken against) try getting them involved in cooking it with you. Honey swore she hated chicken pie for such a long time and wouldn't eat it at pre-school, so we shopped for ingredients together, cooked our own and now it's one of her favourites!
Addressing these things now might help your child feel happier about heading off to school and give them an easier time while they're there, or it might not, but I reckon it's worth a try! Good luck to all the little ones starting school in September, enjoy the rest of your summer and I'll see you all over on Instagram for updates about how it's all going when the time comes!
Honey wears... School uniform (eek!)