10 Things To Do With Your 0-5 Year Old Children To Help Them Be School-Ready .

One question I’m often asked by other mums is, ‘How do I prepare my child for school?’ Below are some of my top tips.
Jonathan school

One question I’m often asked by other mums is, ‘How do I prepare my child for school?’ This is such a brilliant question and one that is worth considering from the time of your child’s birth. Although there is not one ‘right’ answer, taking the time to help your child develop a love of learning right from the get-go is worth its weight in educational gold!

Having been a primary school teacher for over 20 years it's fair to say I’ve taught hundreds and hundreds of children. Now being a parent myself, I’m keenly aware of the importance and preciousness of the years prior to a child entering the school gates for the first time. Setting up a strong foundation for learning is often easier than you may have thought.


I've personally used the following tips with my own children (who are now ages 11 and 14) and I want to share them with you in hope you’ll have the same wonderful results.

1.  Let them know how much you adore them.

Hug them and tell them you love them every day and every night. Light up when you see them for the first time each day. For example, ‘I love you so much, thank you for being my daughter/son.’ Telling them you love them just because they're born, helps them to know your love is unconditional and reiterates that they matter. This connection helps consolidate feelings of safety and security which nurtures their confidence and is a supportive foundation as they approach their first year of school.

2. Read to them every single day.

It doesn’t always have to be a book. It could also be a shopping list, an article, a postcard, a sign, or ingredients on the back of a cereal box. Helping them develop a love of reading is a perfect platform for future literacy development. If you're not a confident reader, you may choose to listen to a story together. 

3. Share personal experiences with them.

Children love to listen to stories. Tell them some from your past, ‘When I was little…’ and some that have happened more recently, ‘Yesterday, while I was down at the shops I noticed…’ Connecting via time immersed in storytelling is priceless. It helps children build up their storytelling, comprehension and oral language skills.

4. Teach them how to be inquisitive about the world around them.

When they are sharing a story or observation with you, ask questions that allow them to expand. ‘Wow, thanks for sharing, why do you think that happened?’ Or ‘What do you find most interesting about that?’ Encouraging them to be curious about the world around them enhances their love of learning which is a wonderful attitude to cultivate from an early age.

5. Build up their Wellbeing Literacy
Helping them to effectively express themselves via their oral language is essential in their Social and Emotional development. Introduce words such as wellbeing, behaviour, choices, stress, anxiety, breathing, meditation, rest, forgiveness, compassion, presence, kindness, intention and so on into your daily conversations. When children can effectively express their emotions, they tend to problem solve and manage school friendship situations with more confidence and ease. 

6. Show them how to be a good friend.

Do this via your actions in your own relationships and talk openly about the behaviours and choices that good friends make. Spend some time role-playing social scenarios with your children as this is a brilliant way to help them build social confidence prior to their first year of schooling.

7. Have technology-free time.

Create a special time each day where there is no TV, radio, phone, iPad or computer being used. Encourage them to go outside and move their bodies in nature as this is an essential part of their physical wellbeing development. Time offline allows children to feel bored which will encourage them to dream, use their imagination and be creative. You may like to use this time to teach them how to do a mini meditation by sitting still and taking some mindful breaths. Encouraging children to have down time is an essential life skill which can help reduce feelings of stress, exhaustion and anxiety which they may encounter at school.

8. Teach them about choices.

Help them to tune into themselves. Empower them to know the difference between good and bad choices. Encourage them to ask themselves positive questions, for example, ‘Was that a good choice? How did it make me feel? What would have been a better response? What did I learn from that situation?’ This builds confidence, resilience and self-reflection skills which are excellent wellbeing skills to add to their wellbeing tool kit.

9. Demonstrate being present.

Encourage them to live in a conscious and present way. Show them how to go slow and explain why rushing isn’t a nurturing choice. Help them embrace the moment and celebrate the little wins along the way. This helps children to moderate, manage and monitor their own wellbeing in a meaningful way – which is not only important for feeling successful at school but also for feeling successful in life. 

10. Nurture your wellbeing.

When you feel good, rested, happy and healthy you're more likely to emanate a beautiful energy that positively affects all those around you. Your children naturally absorb and mimic the way you take care of yourself. Wellbeing is an essential skill for children to be equipped with as they enter their schooling journey. Therefore, taking the time to nurture your wellbeing not only benefits you but your precious children as well. It’s a win-win!

You may be wondering where all the academic information is and I can tell you about that, however, if their wellbeing is not at a high level it doesn’t really matter if they know their ABCs or can write their own name. If their wellbeing isn’t nurtured from a young age they're more likely to be unhappy at school, find it harder to cope with the demands of school life, lose confidence and quickly develop a dislike for school. 

It's so important that they enjoy their first year of school, as this is their introduction to formal education. Their Prep/Foundation teacher will make a difference but what you do for the five years prior to their schooling will impact them for the rest of their school life. This time is truly priceless ... and it's never too early (or late) to start.



Rhiannon xo

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