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According to Sonja Walker, teacher and best-selling author of SCHOOL READY: A practical and supportive guide for parents with sensitive kids, starting school is about more than lunchboxes, library bags and early literacy.
Here she shares a top tip for helping your child build confidence in time for big school.
Teach your child to ask for help
When you child begins school, they will probably be in a classroom with about 20 other children all vying for the teacher’s attention.
They might also spend their recess and lunch-times in playgrounds where there is anywhere between 150 and 800 other kids also milling around.
When your child needs help in these environments, they will need to have the social maturity to be able to ask for it.
The last thing you need is your Kindy child coming home with wet undies because they weren’t game to ask if they could go to the toilet!
How to teach your child to ask for help
So what can you do to build this social maturity skill now?
Well, the best way is to look for ‘real world’ opportunities so that your child learns to solve their own problems and get the answers they need to succeed without the help of a grown-up.
One easy way to introduce self-reliance skills to your son or daughter is to teach your child how to ask for directions when you are out and about.
Simple phrases such as ‘Excuse me, could you tell me where the bus stop is please? will help your child to learn the social conventions of speaking politely to adults, and this will be important in the classroom and playground next year.
Give your child responsibility
Another good way to build independence is to teach your child how to ask for the things they want.
Perhaps they can order from the menu when you stop for a bite at a café or pay for small items like milk or an ice cream at the local shop.
The practice gained will be invaluable in the hurly burly of the school canteen.
Too much help creates ‘helpless’ kids
Teaching your child to ask for the help in minor situations might slow things down in the short-term, and as a parent I completely understand that it’s sometimes just easier and quicker to read the expression on your child’s face and to simply give them what they want.
But really, if you are constantly acting as your child’s translator and meeting their needs without them ever having to articulate them, you are not helping them to be independent.
So start now.
Teach your child how to ask for what they want (even if you have to whisper in their ear to suggest the words they should say.)
Long-term, you’ll be surprised at how quickly their self-confidence will grow, and this will stand them in good stead when school begins.
© 2018 Kids First Children’s Services
Is your child school ready?
Does your child have social and emotional maturity to start school with confidence? Kids First Children’s Services specialises in helping children prepare for Kindergarten and we’d love to chat about your child’s needs and find out how we can help.
Please contact us on 9938 5419 or comment below and we will be in touch.