Is your child starting school: 5 tips from Sarah Ebner

Sarah EbnerYour child is starting school and there’s an awful lot you need to know. Here’s how to avoid some potential pitfalls.

1) Hold off on playdates

By the time your first child starts school, you may be used to a busy diary, but my advice is not to arrange after-school playdates straight away. Your child will be tired after a long day and it’s best not to make lots of after-school arrangements. No one will lose out if you don’t arrange playdates as soon as you possibly can.

2) Be brave

Starting school is an adventure for you as well as your child, and it can be stressful. It’s true that the school gate can be scary sometimes, especially when it comes to meeting people. But your youngster will find it easier to talk to children he doesn’t know and meet new people if he sees you doing the same. Honestly, there are plenty of other lovely people out there.
3) The sound of silence

Children don’t always want to share everything with their parents, and now they are big enough for school, many want to keep that part of their lives secret. So, they may tell you they “can’t remember” what they did.

The starting school survival guideHere are a few ways to get some of that much coveted information:

  • Give them something to eat: – grumpy children are rarely forthcoming.
  • Ask other children: – some children say a lot more to their friends’ parents than to their own.
  • Ask in a different way: – did something make them laugh that day? What was the “best thing”?
  • Talk about your day: – it may encourage them to open up about theirs.

4) Beware of the school rotaRotas can be incredibly useful, but don’t always go as planned. Other people’s children are more likely to drive you mad and never seem ready when you arrive to pick them up!

So, be aware of this and if the rota doesn’t work, don’t badmouth the family involved – your child is at school with theirs for the next seven years…
5) A good sleep

Your child must get enough sleep to cope with the school day, and that means 10 to 12 hours for a new starter. If they don’t get it, they can become anxious and behave badly at school. This, of course, will affect their ability to learn.


Sarah Ebner is the author of the  The Starting School Survival Guide: Everything you need to know when your child starts primary school

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