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Here is an interesting read that we hope will also be helpful for some of you in settling your child for the next few weeks!

Your little child starting school is a beautiful and exciting feeling.

Be mentally prepared and condition your mind:

Before your little one starts going to the school, please make sure you are ready for the big change coming in, as from now his/her routine and expectations from you will be different. The way you have been dealing with people around him/her also will change.
Proven fact is.. "The faster parent settles and shows confidence in the school staff, the faster child imitates that."

Boost his/her social confidence:

Socialising with other children is a skill that has to be learnt gradually, and some children will find it easier than others. If you can introduce him/her to the idea of sharing and taking turns before he/she starts at preschool he'll find the whole experience less daunting. Don't expect great things at first - children usually play alongside each other rather than together until they're around three years old. And while you don't need to stand over young children while they play, you need to be close by to step in if they start to squabble over toys. If you don't have a network of other mums with children the same age as yours, joining a mother and toddler group is a great way to introduce your child to socialising while you keep a watchful eye.

Visit the preschool

"When you're choosing a preschool, it's usually best to visit it without your child the first time," says Diane Rich at Early Education, an organisation which promotes quality in early years education. "The next time take your child with you and see how he/she responds to the environment and watch how the carers interact with him/her." Because you still do not know much about your child's social behaviour.

Talk positive about the school, staff and things child saw there, always try to know the name of the people taking care of your child and talk positive about them at home.

Borrow/buy some books to help:

Visit your local library and borrow some books on starting preschool or nursery, such as Going to Playschool by Sarah Garland. When you've read them, talk to your child about all the fun activities they might be doing at preschool, such as playing outside on bikes, painting pictures, playing with sand and water, making models, singing rhymes, baking cakes and building with bricks and lego.

Potty training:

Some preschools will expect children to be out of diapers before they start, so find out what the policy is if you don't think your child will be ready. However, all preschool staff should be prepared for occasional accidents and won't expect children to ask every time they need the toilet - they'll get plenty of gentle reminders. Pack spare pants and a change of clothes in your child's bag just in case and tell him that no-one will be cross if they do have an accident.

Feeding themselves:

Start training your child to have food on his/her own. at least he/she should be familiar with the idea of eating by his/ her own. Make sure you tell the preschool staff about any strong dislikes your child has, and any food allergies or intolerances.

On the first day

  • Allow plenty of time. The chances are, your child won't be prepared for you to just drop him off and leave on the first day, so be prepared to hang around until school staff suggests.
  • You' ll probably be feeling just as anxious and emotional as they are, but try to stay cheery and confident - children pick up on your feelings of apprehension.
  • Explain to your child when you' ll be back - don' t fob him/her off with fibs such as "Mummy' s just going to move the car" or "I am going to get chocolate for you" when you make your exit. Tell him you'll be back after lunch/drink and biscuit time/story time.
  • Share all your contact number with staff in case they need to call you.
  • If your child cries and won't let you leave, ask staff for advice. In most cases they'll ask you to stay for a while with your child in the early days.
  • When you' ve said your goodbyes, try not to worry. If there is a problem, you'll be contacted, but in most cases your child will be enjoying their exciting new experience.

Problems settling in?

Some children find the experience of starting preschool stressful and still won't settle after a few weeks. Don't worry and don't blame yourself, just accept that children are all individuals and your child will get there in the end.
  • Find out from your child' s key worker or carer what happens once you' ve left. Do they continue crying inconsolably throughout the session or do they perk up 10 minutes later once they're distracted by an activity?
  • Try building up sessions gradually. Start with just 30 minutes and build up the time gradually each day until they're able to stay a whole session without you.
  • Try staying with your child for the session at least for three days.
  • Being anxious is normal for a parent when child is in the process of settling down. Try coming over it and please don't let it show before your child. They are very good in sensing discomfort in parents.
  • Please keep your goodbyes brief - lingering may only make the whole process more painful for your both.
  • Keep your goodbye routine same for everyday, changing the duration spent while dropping your child off, makes the child feels insecured or looking for more or confused.

Don't fret about letters and numbers

We all want our children to do well, but no preschool will expect your child to have a good grasp of letters and numbers when they start. "It' s easy to confuse what you want from early years education with what you will later want from a school," says childcare expert Penelope Leach in The New Your Baby and Child. "Young children learn by playing and therefore optimal learning means being encouraged to play." This doesn't mean your child will have free, undirected play throughout the session - a good preschool should provide a balanced agenda of directed activities that are suitable for your child's level of development and will help them to learn through playing.

A good school always has a right balance of indoor, outdoor, group and individual activities to offer to your child, it may look like a play but has a purpose within.

If you want to encourage his/her learning at home it helps to make it fun: play games of I-Spy to associate sounds and letters; encourage number recognition by counting everyday objects like red cars in the street; bake cakes to find out about weighing and measuring; give him/her dressing up clothes to encourage role-play games; let him/her paint, scribble and draw so his/her's hand to eye coordination along with fine motor skills get better.

Proven fact is.. "The faster parent settles and shows confidence in the school staff, the faster child imitates that.
"The more parents temper with school's settlement process, lengthier the process becomes."
" Longer the goodbyes are, difficult the separation is."

Let the school team and you work as a team to make your child's schooling happier.

Happy schooling.

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