It is important to encourage small children to develop a sense of independence from early on in their lives. This is particularly relevant once they start school. By this stage they should be able to dress themselves, eat breakfast and help with packing their school bag. By helping to lay these foundations, you are not only helping with building their sense of self worth, you are also helping them to develop life skills.
As a parent, especially in the early years of starting school, it is important to oversee them carrying out these tasks, and to provide practical support for them. Here are some useful tips for helping your child get ready for school in the morning.
If your little one cannot read yet, then a photo chart is a terrific way to give them cues about the tasks they need to do in the morning.
Set aside a morning to photograph them doing tasks like brushing their teeth, putting on their uniform, packing their bag and eating breakfast.
Then print the photos out onto a chart and put it on their bedroom door. It’s a simple and effective visual reminder for them of the things they need to do to get ready for school in the morning.
Pack up lunch the night before
Make sure their water bottle is filled and left to chill in the fridge overnight. Prepare and pack the lunchbox the night before to save time rushing to prepare it in the morning.
Encourage your child to be responsible for the actual packing of the lunchbox and water bottle in their bag. However, for children that are just starting school, you need to make sure it is actually packed in the bag. The first few months of school can be overwhelming and sometimes it is easy to forget things like packing lunchboxes in bags.
Have an allocated ‘school spot’
Have a designated spot where your little one can leave their school bag, sports bag and shoes when they come home from school.
That way, they will be able to locate it easily in the morning and be ready to head out the door when you are.
It’s also a good idea to do a weekly bag clear out. It is amazing what small children can accumulate at the bottom of a school bag!
Leave the uniform somewhere easy to reach
It’s sensible to allocate low-lying drawers or easily accessible cupboards for your kids’ school clothes.
A practical thing to do is allocate a specific space that is only for uniforms and school socks. That way once the laundry is done your child can place those clothes in “their drawer” and be able to find them when they are getting ready for school in the morning.
Check the diary
If your child has a school diary you need to check it on a regular basis to ensure you aren’t missing out on any important events or notes. Many schools communicate via email these days but it is useful to check in on the diary as well.
It is important to make sure that your little one is prepared for school before enjoying leisure time. They can kick the ball around or watch television once they are ready for school.
You need to be consistent about your expectations when it comes to the morning routine and encourage your child to stay focused on the tasks they have to do in the morning.