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Advice Column

Tips For Preparing Children For Starting School

Stop the back to school nerves – top tips to prepare mums for the big day!

Oxford University Press has found that more than 3 in 4 mums (78%) of pre-school children are ‘anxious’ about their child starting school and nearly 9 in 10 (88%) mums questioned said their child’s emotional happiness – confidence, ability to make friends easily and enjoyment of school – is their greatest concern.

Ruth Coppard, leading child and educational psychologist, comments: “What’s clear from the findings is that mums equate their child’s confidence to an ability to settle in. You can’t teach your child confidence, but there are many simple steps parents can take to build familiarity in order to prepare their children for school life.”

To help mums feel more excited about this next milestone, the publisher has got together with Ruth Coppard, to create early stage literacy activities to try out over the summer months, to help calm their own nerves, improve confidence and prepare for their little one’s next big step in September.

1. Left to right
Encourage any writing to go from left to right and when you read together use your finger to trace under the words from left to right.

2. Rock-a-bye
Re-visit popular nursery rhymes. Rhyming skills are thought to underpin reading, so encouraging your child to remember the ‘missing’ word from the end of a line, will help to develop this.

3. Finger fun!
If your child wants to write letters, make sure the letters are formed correctly – left to right, top to bottom. Writing with a finger in sand or on the carpet – something with texture – is a good way to help your child to learn the shapes.

4. Number knowledge
Encourage counting while baking together. For example 3 eggs, 4 spoons of sugar etc, counting out items when laying the table, seeing how many strawberries can fit in a bowl, sharing raisins. The important thing is counting 1 to 10. Count steps and railings, numbers on houses, red cars, even grannies on the bus!

5. Story time
Get into a daily habit of reading to your child. Sit together and enjoy a book. Praise the telling of the story, not the detailed accuracy. The emphasis is on enjoying books and being comfortable with them. Available to mums on the high street, the Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper series will introduce children to characters that they will go on to experience in school. Knowing these characters will help to provide a feeling of security for the child as they enter the school room and encourage more confidence in reading with their new teacher.

The survey and tips were commissioned to re-launch Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper, a series available on the high-street that features characters children will encounter when learning to read at school.

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About mumsarcade

Mother to three children Reviewer of products that make mums' lives easier or more fun

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