Helping your child feel ready for school can be fun and can be embedded into every day activities leading up to their first day. It can be exciting to try new things on the adventure of growing up - make sure you have fun during the process!
For some children lunch time can be a different experience. Eating in a room with lots of other people, new smells, eating from a new lunch box and opening the contents independently. This new experience is something you can prepare for.
Suggestions for a child who will be having a packed lunch
Buy a special lunch box and water bottle with your child. Allow them to be involved in the selection of their brand new lunch box so that its recognisable and unique to them!
Talk about the items of food they would like to have in their lunch box. With support, try to encourage your child to make healthy choices.
Encourage your child to take part in preparing their lunch and packing their lunch box. They will then become familiar with what to expect inside.
Have picnics at home, in the garden or at parks with the new lunch box. This will give your child a chance to practise opening and closing the lunch box, individual pots and their new drink bottle.
Suggestions for a child who will be having a school dinner
You could place your child's meal on a tray, at the table, along with a cup and cutlery. This will begin to familiarise your child with how it will look at school.
You could practise carrying things on a tray from one to place to another. This will help the child feel more comfortable and confident carrying their lunch on a tray from the kitchen to the table. Start off small and make it fun. Spillages will happen, so support your child with this.
You can start introducing your child to emptying their leftover food into the bin. Break down the stages of carrying out this task because it can be tricky.
Practise using different cutlery for different types of food. Practise cutting with a knife and using a fork.
Some meals you could offer as options on the table, like a buffet. For example, have some food in a variety of bowls so the child can choose what they want and then you can dish it up. This will allow the child to practise making choices and say what they would like to choose
Make a list with your child of all the items they think they will need for their school uniform. Refer to the school's uniform policy.
Start collecting the items throughout the weeks leading up to the start of school, tick the items off the list.
Involve your child in choosing the items, allow them to touch and explore each item and practice wearing them at home.
When it comes to school shoes have them visible and present around the house. Your child can then become familiar with the style and feel of the shoes! Velcro shoes are the most sensible and far less complicated than laces.
Try and encourage your child to be independent. Talk through the instructions slowly so your child understands how to carry out the tasks. This can be practised with everyday activities such as; clearly their nose, washing their hands.
Promoting a 'have a go' attitude minimises the pressure of feeling of getting it wrong. Encourage your child to feel comfortable to ask for help if they need it.
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