Stephanie Duncan is a mother of two and she’s been an elementary school teacher for a decade – which means she should have some pretty good advice for making sure your little one is prepared for that big first day.
Take a look!
#10. How to recognize their written name.
It’s okay if they don’t know how to spell or write their name when they start school, but it’s immensely helpful to teachers if they can recognize their name when they see it.
#9. How to open their lunchbox.
Not only that, but make sure you think ahead and unwrap anything that might give them trouble (and anxiety) in the moment, like straws or granola bars, etc.
#8. How to use the bathroom.
Pants up and down, how to tell when they need to go, and how to wipe themselves. Teachers simply don’t have time to do these things for an entire classroom of students every day.
#7. How to follow simple instructions.
They don’t have to be able to put together a piece of Ikea furniture, but it’s very helpful to teachers if your child understands simple requests like “please take out your pencil” or “please sit on the carpet.”
#6. How to read a book.
No, not to actually read it – but how books work! Front to back, left to right, etc. All you have to do is make sure you’re reading books with your child at home and they should be good to go for this one.
#5. How to dress themselves.
This goes double if you live somewhere cold because it cuts into class (or recess) time to have to zip or button or put hats and scarves on 20 kids. This applies to trips to the bathroom, too.
#4. How to be independent.
Even though your child will likely have an adjustment period after being in one environment for their entire life until now, it will help the transition if you have them in at least a couple of activities where they are separated from mom and dad for decent periods of time.
#3. How to look after their own things.
Your child will lose something you’ve sent to school, so please do label everything you want returned with their names. That said, you will save yourself (and your child and your child’s teacher) some headaches by impressing upon your child the importance of taking care of their things.
#2. How to enjoy school.
Show your child to live in the moment by enjoying every day you have with them at home, and encourage their innate desire to learn, grow, and explore. No child should start disliking school from the get-go.
#1. How to get a good night’s sleep.
Days are long and hard for little ones this age, so do yourself a favor and don’t over-schedule them – or schedule them at all – for extracurriculars during the school year.