So after my guide to preparing to send your first child to school post, I thought I would share some Skills for your preschooler to master. Some of these are skills M’s key worker suggested we help M master before he starts school in September. I like to think of us as pro-active parents as we like to make the most of every minute we have with our little man. Because we both work full time, we suffer mummy guilt about the hours he is without us. This means we have to pack fun time, family time and learning time into our weekends, which means we try and teach M pretty much everything through play.
Using the toilet and washing hands is the most important skill you can help your child to perfect before they start school. We are lucky that M has been out of nappies for a long while now and has mastered using the toilet without assistance, even if he needs a little prompt occasionally, to use soap when washing his hands. Encourage them to be independent over the Summer holiday’s by praising their trips to the bathroom when they complete the whole trip on their own.
The pen grip is one of the most used skills your preschooler is required to learn before and during reception. A great way to improve the pincer grip needed to hold the pen is by playing with Hama beads, picking up small items with clothes pegs and transferring fun small things from one bowl to another with just your two pincer grip fingers. M found it funny when we suggested picking pasta up with clothes pegs, which made the whole learning experience quite fun.
M’s preschool were fab in helping him practice the vital skill he will require during PE at school. M is very competitive and loved the challenge of being the first to change for PE without assistance. Give your child time to practice changing their t-shirt and trousers/skirts for their PE kit. Make it into a little game and ensure their clothes have enough room to allow them to change with ease. Practice buttons, zips and velcro, leave the laces until they’ve mastered them at home.
Lunch time at school is very different to lunch at preschool, so ensure that your child can open any packets you send them to school with, or that they can undo the lids of their lunchbox or drinks bottle. We discovered M was struggling with his yogurt pouches and their screw tops, so we’ve swapped them with tubes that tear open. It is also key to get them used to using a knife and fork if they are eating school dinners. A teacher will not have time to cut up food for a hungry child.
Your child’s Confidence is something that will hopefully grow as they reach school, but it is also something you can help build at home. In fact, I truly believe it’s best built at home. Praise where praise is due, encourage your child to ask questions and listen to them. Provide your child with one on one time where they can speak about any concerns they are having and allow them a safe space to discuss things in private. Sometimes a little one may open up to each parent about different things in their lives.
What skills do you feel are vital to learn before school?