About the speaker: Dr Helen Likierman is a consultant clinical psychologist working with families and children where there are emotional, social, behavioural or learning concerns. Visit Helen's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
Further information about this Talk
Visit Helen's website at www.psykidz.co.uk.
To get hold of Valerie Muter's and Helen Likierman's latest book on how parents can prepare their child for school please click here.
Key Points Covered in This Talk:
- Preschool children who know what to expect from school are likely to cope better from the start of school. The following will help ensure that children are properly prepared:
- Visit the school in advance: It is helpful to be familiar with the school and it's location. Ideally it is good to arrange a visit to meet the child's teachers, other children, and to get to know the geography of the inside of the school. Seeing where the loos, playground, and the eating area etc. are located will help to reduce anxiety and ensure that children are more relaxed about the first day.
- Meeting other children: This is a great way of getting more relaxed before starting school. If teachers give out class lists then you can arrange playdates before school starts and your child can make friends in advance.
- Explaining what to expect: Parents should talk with children about what to expect: things about the school day, routines, learning and playing. Explain what there is to look forward to and ensure your child sees it as a great opportunity to have fun, meet people and enjoy himself/herself.
- Time away from parents: Children need to be able to separate from parents in order to be left at school. If you've been with your child a lot and your child hasn't spent much time away from you that might be a little bit harder. Try and practice short separations, leaving your child with a friend. Let your child play independently for very short periods of time, gradually increasing these. Of course for any preschooler you should not leave them alone so a parent must be there, but try and make it so that your child doesn't really see that you are there (i.e. be in the background). If your child is playing with another child and they get into a scrap with each other and start fighting (and they do not resolve the difficulty themselves) it is better for you to step in to help them so that they learn how to resolve conflicts with other children. This will ensure the other child goes away thinking well of your child. You don't want another child saying your child isn't very nice at a new school. Therefore make sure that any child who comes to play goes away having had a great time and is happy.
- Don't be over anxious: If you are anxious don't let your child see your worries and anxieties because they will very quickly pick up on it. Take care to be relaxed and calm and transmit the idea that school is a pleasant place to be. Reassure your child that if there are any issues that they don't know about that they can be easily solved.