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Tips for starting school in 2021

How to create a smooth transition to school.

Young girl in school uniform going to school
SydneyConnect Image: Heading back to school

School’s back!

The District’s Child and Family Health team has compiled a list of tips to help ensure a smooth start to the school year – especially for children who are going to school for the first time.

Start positively

Talk about school in a positive way. For example “I can’t wait to hear about all the fun things you are going to do at school today.”

Routines help children relax

If you can, practise the new school routine before your child starts school by using their lunchbox at home at the same break times as school and getting them to try on their school uniform. Getting into a routine of early bedtime, breakfast and getting ready in the mornings before school starts back will help the transition go smoothly.

Talk about it

Ask your child what their feelings are about going to school and tell them that their feelings are okay. If your child is worried about separating from caregivers, a little note or family photo they can keep in their lunchbox might be helpful. Let your child know what will happen at drop off and pick up. Don’t suddenly leave or take a long time saying goodbye. Make goodbyes short and clear. Remain calm and use positive language. For example, “I am going now and you are going with your teacher to play and I will pick you up after school.”

Practising art and craft activities at home can help prepare children for school. Using a range of objects like pencils, textas, paintbrushes, scissors and paper can help develop children’s hand strength and eye-hand coordination.

Build independence

It’s important for school-aged children to be independent with self-help skills such as toileting, dressing and opening their lunchboxes. Allowing children to engage in parts of their daily routine as independently as possible helps to develop their confidence with these tasks.

If you have concerns about your child going to school, you can contact your local doctor, school counsellor or call the Child Health Information Link (CHIL) on 02 9562 5400 from 8.30am – 4pm Monday to Friday to speak with a health professional.

Another way to prepare your family for the year ahead is with a new website helping people to make simple changes now that lead to healthier lives in the future.

Healthy Eating Active Living is a NSW Government website with easy, practical tools and expert tips that can help you and your family get started and stay on track. Find healthy recipes, lunchbox ideas and access to free programs for adults and kids.