Building little routines and techniques into home life can help your child prepare for school, says INGER-LISA HURST
Tips to get toddlers school ready
establish a good ‘getting out the door’ routine
Create a picture chart to make it easy for them to see what next step to take. Make sure they can access what they need for this process – for example, a step by the basin so they can brush their own teeth and hair, and a basket for shoes and hats and low hooks for jackets by the door.
let them pack their own bag
Hand over the responsibility of packing for swimming lessons, play dates, preschool or a night at Nana’s – your toddler will relish the responsibility. You’ll probably need to do a bit of post-packing supervision, or even pack a separate bag if needed.
build up periods of concentration in your toddler
Concentration is an essential skill and all too often we casually interrupt our children when they are absorbed in a task. Next time you go to call your child just check they are not about to put the final block on their tower or the essential wing on their Lego jet fighter.
teach your child to wait their turn before speaking
Make eye contact, remind them to wait their turn and rest a hand on their shoulder so they know you haven’t forgotten them. As soon as there is a break in your conversation, let them speak.
establish some knowledge around maths and language
They may find their early days easier if they know the names of colours, the alphabet, can count from 1-9, and can hold a pencil correctly. Knobbed puzzles are great for learning pencil grip.
show your child how to be organised
Get them into the habit of knowing where and how to put their things away (coats, shoes, lunchbox) and they’ll become confident at knowing how to get what they need when they need it in the classroom.
teach the art of completing a task from start to finish
Involve your toddler in everyday chores such as packing their lunchbox in the morning, then emptying it, cleaning it and putting it away at the end of the day to help them learn routine.
help them develop their communication skills
Encourage your toddler to talk by taking the time to sit and listen to them, as well as encouraging them to talk calmly and face-to-face when any conflicts arise.