6 Ways You Can Help Support Your Child Starting School by Milly Glendinning
Starting school is a big step in your little ones lives. It can be expected that emotions may run high at first. Acknowledging this and being there for them emotionally is important as ultimately, it can be a challenging time in their lives. Here are our top tips for supporting your child throughout this time:
1. Encourage open conversations with them.
It is really important to encourage conversation with your little one so that they can express how they are feeling. Letting them talk to you, uninterrupted, will help them to feel loved, supported and listened to. A great way to encourage this is by using our Mind Cards: Kids Edition. We created the “Today I am” category to encourage open conversations about emotions with your children and help your child put how they are feeling into words.
2. Routine, routine, routine!
Having a consistent routine with your little ones is a great way to help this new chapter of life become their norm and help settle any emotions. Our bodies naturally thrive with routine and children are no different. Research suggests that routine is even more important with children as it can help them to feel secure and comfortable. Routine can also influence their emotional, cognitive and social development.
This can be applied to both their morning and evening routines. In the morning, (if they don’t naturally wake), try to be consistent in the time you wake them. Continue this consistency throughout the morning. This helps them to recognise the routine and be aware of the steps they have to do. This can help your child understand the expectations of them and, consequently, help reduce the frequency of behaviour problems (such as tantrums).
Having a routine also helps to build independence in your child. Once they are familiarised with their routine they can start to do some of the steps unassisted.
3. The power of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about learning to be fully present in the moment. This can be challenging for children, but by using mindful techniques they can learn to focus their minds on the current task and block out distractions.
Calming and clearing their mind can encourage better concentration, divert tantrums, ease tensions and improve sleep. By using our cards, you can guide your child to let go of any distracting thoughts and evaluate how they feel after. These simple techniques can help to calm any nerves they may have during this important step in their lives, and is something they can take forward into the future.
4. Prioritise some quality time each day.
By spending some time, ideally at the end of the day, to be together in a calm environment reinforces the feelings of nurture and love. Having a set time carved out in your schedule to be with them each day is a great way to unwind together and a perfect opportunity for your child to let you know all about their day. Giving them your full attention helps to strengthen your bond together and allows you to better understand your child’s behaviour.
Research suggests this can also help to reduce sibling rivalry, as each child doesn’t feel the need to compete if they know they have 100% of your attention for a period of time everyday.
5. Be positive!
It is worth recognising that alongside this change being a big step in your child’s life, it is also a big step for parents. It is completely natural that you may be experiencing feelings of nervousness or upset about this big change. Children can recognise and absorb others emotions and it is easy for them to replicate how we may be feeling. Staying positive and excited about this change will help them settle quicker into this new stage of life. Try talking to your child about all the fun new things they will be able to do, all the friends they will make and all the exciting aspects they have to come. If they sense your apprehension towards school, it is very likely they will reciprocate this.
It is to be expected that at some point your child may come home from school sad, angry or hurt. Listen to their problem, offer support to them, and then create a safe, open space where they can discuss a solution.
Our “Repeat after Me” category in Mind Cards: Kids’ Edition is a great way to encourage this positive mindset in your child. These are affirmations you can practise with your child each day such as “today I will make people smile” or “today I choose to be confident”.
6. Know you are doing a great job.
Remember you are doing a great job, and don’t forget: a loving parent is the best parent.
“There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” Dave Willis.
By Milly Glendinning