Helping kids get school-ready

Early learning leader BestStart writes about helping your child transition more easily into school.

Your child experiences a sense of accomplishment and confidence when they learn to do things themselves. The more you encourage them to learn new skills, the better they will cope with a new environment.

There are some skills that children need to have before they start school. Here’s how you can help encourage your child to become more independent:

DRESSING/GROOMING
Once at school, most children can dress and undress, do up their shoes, put on a sun hat, and put things into/take stuff out of their backpack and pencil case. Encourage younger children to do these things with help when needed. Velcro shoes are a good idea for children who can’t yet tie their shoes or do up sandal buckles. 

SELF-FEEDING
Give children the time to practise with child-sized tableware. Help them learn to open and close their lunch box and any small containers inside. When at school, they won’t need a teacher’s help to eat their lunch. 

TOILETING/HANDWASHING
Children are expected to take themselves to the toilet, pull off and on their clothing to use the toilet, wipe themselves, flush, and wash their hands. Practise using the toilet and good hand hygiene. 

BASIC CHORES
Once children are old enough to take direction, they can help with simple tasks. Involve your child in household chores early on. Children who do regular, basic chores before the age of four tend to be more independent in early adulthood. At school, they’ll be expected to help with chores. 

SOCIAL SKILLS
Children feel a great sense of achievement when contributing to their family. They experience an increase in confidence and wellbeing. Social skills are developed as they contribute to their first team – their family, but these skills will be used throughout their lives with friends and as adults, with colleagues. They will always be appreciated for these skills. You will enjoy feeling that they are contributing and understanding the value of the work you do around the house. It’s also an excellent opportunity for growing your relationship, their physical skills and language.

best-start.org