Siblings at School: How to prepare different ages for the new school year
It’s always tough when you have more than one little one heading to school, especially if there have been changes for the older one. That is the exact position we find ourselves in this time. Reuben will be moving from the class he has known for the last two years (nearly three actually!) and Toby is officially starting reception.
Fortunately, Toby has been at pre-reception, something our school offers which is awesome. It means that the kids go into reception from the term after their 4th birthday. They don’t have to go full time, it’s “free” and it means they are given exactly the same treatment and gently ease into school life if they have been in a nursery setting. That is one stress off my mind as Toby seems to know what to expect now, but Reuben… well, he’s nervous!
At our school, pre-reception, reception and year 1 are all together. It’s such a small village school that there are only around 70 pupils in the whole school, so you are talking minimal amounts of kids… until recently! Now the newer students are a-plenty, so whereas year 2 *used* to be in with the little ones, they have now been shuffled into a middle class with years 3 and 4. Eek! New teacher. Harder work. More homework and expectation.
So how to plan? Here are a few of my tips for how to plan for a child either starting school or moving up to the next class:
- Be expectant of nerves. You’re nervous when you start a new role right? So are the kids. You can talk about it and reassure them that everyone is in the same boat – nerves are totally normal.
- Find out who is going to the same school or into the next class. Reuben knows that most of the other kids in his current class are going to be in this one too and he knows a few of the “big boys” as he puts it are in there too, so by reminding him that the other kids are in there he seems happier. As for Toby, when he first started, I told him about all the little ones we knew about from preschool and nursery.
- Let them pick out their “stuff”. Lunch boxes, pencil cases, bags. Go on a little shopping spree for all the back to school bits and bobs, let them get excited about using their new things.
- Find out what the next steps are going to be in their class and prep for them. Pinterest is such a good place for prepping with educational things. So I know that moving into year two, Reuben needs to work on his formation and general writing skills. Not only has his awesome teacher given us some worksheets but I’ve already been looking at Pinterest to determine what to over the holidays that can help him. We’ve been and picked out some workbooks for year 2 kids at The Works and we’re going to have a go through them to get ready.
- Talk, talk and talk some more. Don’t shy away from mentioning school if you have a really nervous child. Bring it up spontaneously, add it into imaginative play, talk to his/her friends about starting school and how exciting that must be for them. Keep it a part of the conversation.
- Older kids like Roo will be expected to have more responsibility at school. They are in charge of their own planners and book bags. They have to remember to give them in, get books changed… start assigning certain responsibility roles at home. Just small ones that they have to do daily or remember. It won’t be such a shock then!
- On the morning...
- Don’t be pushy with breakfast, but if the little ones are nervous, then maybe add some breakfast biscuits into their bag and tell their teacher they didn’t eat much so the biscuits are there.
- Get organised the night before so it’s not a stressful morning. Follow the theory I mentioned above about giving older kids more responsibility – so they have to get their teeth brushed, get on with shoes etc.
- Don’t try to take everything in one go – you know: PE kits, extra bags, lunch boxes, extra this, extra that. Just take back what will be needed on the day. We go back on a Tues, PE will be on that day or Wednesday so they will take that but leave their forest school kit bag (we’re a forest school so that’s one of our extra bags) until it’s needed on Friday!
- Make sure there is fuel in the car if you need it!
Do you have any tips for getting kids into the routine of school?