It’s exciting isn’t it. Your child is starting primary school, but have you prepared him/her? If not, you haven’t got long before the new school year starts! As a clinical children’s hypnotherapist, specialising in all sorts of anxiety and behavioural problems, I am often asked by mums:
“Can you help me – my child is starting school in a couple of months and he’s still not potty trained/ not eating properly/ not sleeping properly!”
Now, a hypnotherapist I may be, but a magician I am not, so please be aware that these things cannot just happen overnight, so if you have a four year old who is still not anywhere near ready to start school – do start helping him or her get school ready, otherwise you are going to be dealing with all sorts of anxieties!
Preparing for primary school –
The main things are just common sense really – making sure that little Johnny knows how to use the toilet on his own, able to put on and take off his coat and shoes, using a fork and spoon when they are eating, but don’t fret if they cant do all of these things 100% perfectly – they will soon learn when they see their peers doing it! See if you can allow and encourage your child to do all these things for himself – of course he or she will make mistakes at first – that’s how they learn! And, make sure you praise them whether they do it right or wrong.
Being able to sit still and concentrate for short periods of time to listen to the teacher is important, so it’s a great idea to get the child used to sitting with you for just a few minutes at a time every day – perhaps reading or playing a game and if he has siblings, maybe getting them involved to help him!
Encourage your child to share and play games nicely without having a tantrum – this is something I notice a lot in my clinics whilst playing with the little ones – some are really kind and play very nicely without getting cross if the game doesn’t go their way but others can become very aggressive, get very angry and have a complete meltdown. At school, he will be expected to sit and play games in a fairly calm manner so encourage him or her to do this.
Getting them used to communication –
Children of pre-school age do tend to answer you with a simple yes or no so try and get him or her giving you full answers about things so instead of saying “Did you have a good day at school today?“ when he will probably just say ‘yes’, try saying “ So what did you do at school today? Tell me about your day!” It will get the child used to having a conversation with the teacher and his little friends. Don’t forget to ask about their feelings and the things that make them sad, happy, angry or excited!
One thing that I feel is really important when a child is starting school is to teach him or her that it doesn’t matter at all if he makes mistakes. In fact, if he makes a mistake its better in a way because he will learn how to do it properly! Most children get embarrassed and very upset if they get something wrong but if you can teach your child that failure is a just another stepping- stone to success, you will have taught them one of the most important things in life!
One of the biggest problems I help children with at the moment is friendship issues. Yes, even at 5-9 years old children have problems making and keeping friends. Now of course, there could be many reasons why your child is struggling with this but to get your child prepared, try using some teddies or glove puppets and do some role play!
For example: “How does Teddy ask to join the monkeys in a game?” (using the glove puppets) Act out different scenarios – in this way the child will learn and won’t feel out of his depth at school.
Children’s feelings about school can vary enormously. Some can hardly wait to start while some find it really stressful to leave their parents for the day. Start helping your child look forward to going to school by talking about it now with great enthusiasm. You can visit the classroom, look at other pupils’ pictures and projects together and talk about what your child will be doing and who they will meet in positive terms. Make sure they can at least write their name so that they can put it on their work /drawings etc.
Potty training can be a problem but if you start in good time, he should be ready to cope with going to the toilet on his own. Some children however will be a bit later than others and you will need to let the teacher know.
Being able to eat various foods is also important if your child is having school lunches. This can be a huge problem for mums of children who are selective eaters so do ensure they are eating a varied diet.
Remember, your child will have a much easier and happier time during his first few days/weeks at school if he has been prepared. The tips above are just a few of what you should have been preparing but these are the main ones! If you feel he or she isn’t ready emotionally and is showing signs of anxiety – do contact me at www.focus-hypnotherapy.co.uk
I can help with social skills, confidence, growth mindset and anxiety!