The Scrapbook

7 essentials for preparing a courageous schoolkid

Dreading tears at drop-off?

Dreading tears at drop-off? I did, too – and I think we all had our fair share! Separation anxiety can go both ways. All you want is for your child to start school with confidence so you’re not left wondering how you can be there FOR them when you can’t be there WITH them.

I learnt a lot from my starting school experiences with the kids. I learnt to work with the kids’ teachers to make a drop-off strategy that was consistent, predictable and supportive. I also learnt that there’s power in preparation when it comes to starting school. It’s why we made the My Big Moments Ready for School book and put together the Starting School Bundle, and it’s why we’re sharing these 7 things you can start now to help your child start school as a courageous schoolkid.

7 essentials for preparing a courageous schoolkid

  1. Establish a routine for going to bed and getting up in the morning before school starts to get everyone’s body clock adjusted ahead of time.

  1. Make a visual checklist of the morning routine together so your child can remember what needs to happen on school mornings. E.g. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, packing their schoolbag, doing their hair, putting on shoes and leaving for school. 

  1. Get familiar with drop-off and pick-up times and procedures in place at the school. Discuss a plan for managing transitions at drop-off and pick-up with your child that is consistent and predictable.

  1. Talk about positive things to look forward to at school like meeting new friends, exploring things they are interested in, and getting to do lots of different activities. Practice dialogue for inviting a new friend to play or eat together, or, how to ask a teacher for help or something they need. 

  1. Let your child take ownership of some decisions that help them prepare to start school. Engage them in shopping for their uniform, choosing their lunchbox, drink bottle, school bag and stationery items. 

  1. Create predictability by visiting the schoolgrounds at a time when the school is quiet. Explore where pick-up and drop-off will take place, their classroom, find where the bathrooms are, look at where they will eat lunch and play.

  1. Get to know your child’s non-verbal signals of worry in the lead-up to starting school, e.g. stalling tactics, fussing over insignificant details, or complaining of physical symptoms like a sore tummy. Explore and acknowledge your child’s feelings so they know they have been seen, heard, and that their experience is important to you.

Making the tricky job of parenting a whole lot easier

Want to make this next big moment a whole lot easier? Check out our book, Ready for School and the Starting School Bundle. My Big Moments books help your child start school with less tears and more tenacity! When you can create predictability around a new experience or environment, kids feel safe and secure. In that state of mind, they’re neurologically primed to adapt well and absorb new information. 

The Ready for School book helps kids to prepare for starting school, preschool, or transition into a new school environment with confidence. It helps them engage in the preparation process, learn about what to expect and figure out what to do when they need a little extra support. Backed by research, this kids’ book helps your child with practical language, ideas, and strategies from child development experts.

We’re here to help

My Big Moments books are designed to make your tricky job of parenting a whole lot easier. Backed by research and Kiwi ingenuity, the My Big Moments whanau work with experts in child development, psychology, play therapy and neuroscience to weave practical language, ideas and strategies into kids’ books that help you handle your real-life challenges.

Get help with ...
— The milestone of starting school
— Adjusting to the arrival of a new baby
Building resilience to handle big changes, challenges and strong feelings
— Preparing for medical procedures and hospital visits
— Understanding and dealing with grief and loss

Find our books on our website shipping throughout NZ and Australia and in all good NZ bookstores. 

Hannah Davison is the author and co-founder of My Big Moments. Join ‘the village’ on Instagram at @mybigmoments for free practical help and support for parents and caregivers.