It’s the end of a school day and the children come out of the classroom to meet their parents and your child is standing there, jacket unzipped, shoes on the wrong feet and backpack open with papers spilling out, you secretly wonder why the teacher didn’t help your child get organized before leaving the classroom?
As parents, we often assume that our child’s teacher will be able to assist 20+ students as they get ready for recess or home time. Often teachers are able to do a quick check over and remind students what they need to do before leaving the classroom, but sometimes there can be a student who is upset or another child who is being redirected and needs the teacher’s full attention as the other students get ready independently.
With this awareness, now is the time to start teaching your child the ins and outs of buttons, zippers, shoes and backpacks! Start by giving yourself a few extra minutes whenever you are leaving the house to allow your child to attempt these items themselves, the extra time spent now will ensure your child is comfortable by the time school begins.
Here are the top areas to focus on as we approach the new school year:
Seasonal Clothing ~ Each change of season brings different clothing here in Canada. Autumn brings sweaters and jackets with buttons and zippers. Winter brings mittens, hats and scarves. Spring has umbrellas and rain boots. Summer brings out the sunscreen, sandals and sunglasses. Make sure as each season approaches and the clothing starts to change, you and your child practise with the new items at home. It helps to discuss why each piece of clothing matters and why it needs to be worn (mittens due to cold winds and snow, sunglasses to protect their eyes, etc.). If your child knows the reason he/she needs to wear certain items, he/she is more likely to actually wear the items when you are not at school reminding him/her to put everything on before heading outside for recess!
Buckles and Buttons on Pants/Skirts/Shorts ~ Unless your child has a washroom phobia (a topic for a different day!), there will come a time during the school day when he/she will need to make a pit stop. So, when your child wants to wear their cute new belt, pants or overalls to school, you will need to take a moment or two to make sure that he/she is able to undo and do up each item independently. It is also important to remind your child that if he/she is struggling with a button or zipper, he/she should not hesitate to ask his/her teacher for help, nothing is worse than struggling to get a button undone and having a washroom accident! (*As a side note, make sure your child can do all washroom items on his/her own, and send a change of clothes in a bag just in case he/she has an accident.)
Shoes ~ As your child goes in and out of the classroom, he/she will be switching back and forth between his/her indoor and outdoor shoes numerous times a day. It is important that these shoes are manageable for your child to put on and off on his/her own. Most teachers recommend shoes with velcro, and it is best to have your child try them out for ease of use in the store before you even purchase them. In the winter, children often find it difficult to put boots on with snow pants, another skill to practise at home!
Backpacks and Lunch Bagss another way to give your child confidence in their own abilities!
Not needing to depend on others to help them daily will give your child a huge confidence boost to tackle school and all the new situations it is sure to bring! Your child may also start to help other students who are having troubles, nothing makes a child feel better than helping another child accomplish a difficult task! I leave you with one last “tip” as your child practises with their shoes, jackets and backpacks … LABEL EVERYTHING!