Establish an evening routine to include a bedtime story and to ensure your child has at least 8-10 hours sleep each night. Well rested children are the best learners.
Establish a well organised routine at home. Many children don’t like surprises. Tell your child in advance about events and arrangements.
Ask your child to assist with tasks at home – it helps them contribute and builds independence. A four year old can pull up a duvet cover, pick their toys up off the floor, pack away items, help set the table, help pack and unpack the dishwasher and help feed the family pets.
Know that your child won’t always eat their school lunch. Children are more interested in playing with their friends. Only pack small quantities of food. Eating small amounts regularly and drinking plenty of fresh water will sustain your child throughout the day.
Expect your child to be tired at the end of the day. Tired children can sometimes feel bombarded by lots of questions about school. Allow them some down time to relax. They will talk when they are ready.
Expect to be busy. Schools are busy places and there is a large amount of information. Take the time to read the information and know when events are being held.
Keep a balanced perspective. Children can be very black and white in their thinking. ‘No-one played with me today’ could mean ‘the person I wanted to play with did not want to play the game I wanted to play’. ‘Everyone has a mobile phone’ could mean two children.
Be mindful of what you say in front of children. Children repeat everything to their teachers. Children don’t need to be worrying about adult issues such as money worries or other adult concerns. It only creates extra anxiety for them.
Obey road rules. If children observe parents crossing roads illegally they will take risks themselves. Children under 10 don’t have road sense and need you to teach them these skills.
Be kind and wise. Do not judge other children. You never know what lies ahead. All children make mistakes. It’s how we teach children to learn from their mistakes that is important.
Be patient. Children develop at different rates. Some children learn to read quickly, others take longer. Be positive and encouraging. Celebrate the smallest success.
Work collaboratively with the school. There will be issues. No child is perfect. Listen, support the teachers and work together to help your child flourish.
Model good manners. Teach your child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ and ‘may I’. Expect your child to not interrupt conversations.
Respect the school rules and procedures. Support the school by expecting your child to wear full school uniform correctly and with pride.
Smile and laugh every day. In our busyness we often miss the little things – the wonder of nature, of leaves changing colour, the caterpillar crawling along the path, the shiny pebble in your child’s pocket.
Mrs Julie Wiseman, Head of Wahroonga Preparatory School