How to use daily routines to get your child ready for school

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"Parents must establish a morning routine where their children follow the same activities every morning." Photo: Getty Images
"Parents must establish a morning routine where their children follow the same activities every morning." Photo: Getty Images

School readiness meets some parents with excitement and some with significant anxiety or a bit of both. However, there are ways to prepare your child for this chapter.

Better ways that will leave you both excited for formal schooling. One of those ways is establishing a routine for your child when they start schooling, says Jenny Trollip, Head of Department at St Martin's Junior Preparatory Phase in the south of Johannesburg.

Read: OPINION | Teacher-pupil relationships 'disgusting' and 'unlawful', says education activist

Here she shares some tips with parents on preparing their children for formal schooling through a routine. See below.

She says that parents must establish a morning routine where their children follow the same activities every morning—having a chain of tasks they must do every morning. This leads to a sense of independence for the child, she says.

An example of a morning routine could include waking up, having breakfast, washing, getting dressed, collecting school bags, lunch, and getting into the car, says Trollip.

She suggests that parents should also set up an evening routine to calm their children and prepare them for the next day of school.

"Ideas for this routine could include taking out the school uniform, bath time, quiet play with no screen time, story time and finally, bedtime," says Trollip.

"A Grade 1 child should be in bed between 19:30 and 20:00," added Trollip.

Parents should allocate a homework space as part of the routine for their child, says Trollip.

She says that even the homework should be done in a way that follows a specific routine. By having a specific time for the homework, following a sequence of events such as writing the homework, packing the school bag.

She added, "Homework in Grade 1 needs to be supervised by an adult who can create a positive environment."

When preparing a healthy snack box, she says parents should discuss nutritious options and treats with their children.

She says that parents should bear in mind that the snacks they give to their children will sustain them for at least six hours while at school.

Another tip she gives to parents is that parents must contact the school about their child's progress.

"When your child starts Grade 1, make sure that as parents, you are on the school App and class Dojo, or whatever communication mechanism is used at the school so that you know what is happening and do not miss out on special days," explains Trollip.

Also read: Anxiety at school: Helping your child survive and thrive

She says that parents can prepare their children for this new phase by adding certain activities to the established routine, such as:

1. Reading to their child.

2. Teaching their child songs, nursery rhymes and poems.

3. Take your children on excursions to, for example, museums.

4. Make regular opportunities for playdates.

5. Play games so that your child starts recognising colours, numbers, and letters.

"Cherish moments spent with your child and enjoy their school journey with them. Grade 1 is exciting, and memories made this year should be filled with laughter and enjoyment," added Trollip.

Submitted to Parent24 by St Martin's school.

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