Caregiver's guide to preparing your child for school

Caregiver's guide to preparing your child for school

Organizational skills and learning preparedness

As a caregiver, you can help your child with learning organizational skills from a young age. Incorporating organizational skills into everyday routines at home can help children feel less anxious about the demands of managing school-related materials, backpacks, and clothing at school.

Every child is different, and has different needs.

Every child is different, and has different needs. This is a great time to communicate with the child in your care to find out how they’re feeling about school, and what you can do to help ease the transition. You can also speak with teachers and health care professionals for some more specific tips on teaching organizational skills that will benefit the child in your care.

Tips for teaching organizational skills to kids

  • Encourage your child and teach them how to finish a task before going on to the next.
  • Make it a habit to have your child put one toy (game, activity, etc.) away before playing with the next.
  • Encourage “stations” (e.g. the dining room table for crafts, a big chair for reading, etc.) for different types of activities at home. Each station should be comfortable and have the right lighting and materials for the activity.
  • Teach your child to be organized and to value and take care of his/her belongings – even relatively inexpensive items such as markers or pencil crayons should be handled with care. Teach your child to replace marker lids, keep crayons in the crayon bin, etc.
  • Praise generously, but don’t forget to teach your child to value taking time and care when doing crafts. Invite your child to provide detail when drawing pictures of people. Use prompts like “Where are her eyes?” and “Does she have a nose?”
  • Teach your child that it’s OK to use an eraser, and to complete pictures even if they are not “perfect,” rather than starting over with each mistake.
  • Large bins of random toys and miscellaneous toy pieces can be overwhelming and even confusing for a child. It is better to have a system for organizing toys, similar to schools and daycare centres. Use child-safe and accessible shelves and bins/baskets to house toys, and sort toys into individual bins (e.g., dinosaurs all kept in one bin, cars in another).
  • Try rotating toys by putting some toys away and having only a few out each month.
  • Give your child responsibility. Begin by assigning small things to your child. For example, putting shoes in the correct spot after taking them off, making the bed, and putting books back on the shelf.
  • Recognize that children pass through child developmental stages at different rates.
  • Be specific when you praise your child (i.e. “I like the colours you chose”).
  • Value your child for his/her unique strengths and interests.

Starting a new school year can bring on stress and anxiety for children. By sticking to a similar routine at home you’re also preparing your child for school and helping them to adapt to the school environment and activities.

The goal as a caregiver, is to reduce overall stress levels for you and the child in your care, and ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption.

Elizz is a a not-for-profit organization powered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care and is the place to go for all things caregiving.

If you are a family caregiver and need help or advice, or would like more information on preparing your child for school, call 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549) or check out our Elizz support services.

Elizz offers support for caregivers and for those in your care.

 

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