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'Smile at everyone': teachers' top 10 tips for children starting school

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Summer is over and The Great British Bake Off is on television. Soon it will be September and many parents will have reached the moment they've been fantasising about since their child was born: the first day at school. 

Whether your son is starting in Reception or your Year 6 daughter has just moved school, September can be a stressful month. The thought of unfamiliar surroundings, faces and routines can cause anxiety for you and your child long before they walk through the school gates.

So before the big day, do some prep. Visit the school and, if possible, meet the members of staff who will be teaching your child. For younger children, ease any nerves by reading them bedtime stories featuring characters that are just starting education, such as Little Rabbit Goes to School by Harry Horse or First Week at Cow School by Andy Cutbill.

Finally, make sure your children are wearing the correct uniform, carrying working stationery and have the right books before they head out the door. And try not to cry. It’ll only set the teachers off.

Here are teachers’ top 10 tips for you and your child as they start school in September:

1. Smile…

Remind your children to smile at as many people as possible (@WhelanCatherine)

The new school hustle and bustle might initially stun your child, but take solace in knowing that teaching staff will always help them find their feet.

2. Be friendly

Get them to try and make new friends. Help expand their horizons (@rforde65)

Don’t worry if your child doesn’t make hundreds of friends on the first day. Remember that it usually takes time to build lasting relationships.

3. Choose your path

Don't walk them to school on the first day (@LornaShiles)

Allowing your child more independence may feel a bit like letting go, but in the long run it will encourage them to use their initiative and make the most of being away from home.

4. Ask for help

Get in touch if there is something worrying you. Contact early on helps with relationships in the long term (@TeacherinUK)

If something doesn’t feel quite right, or you are encountering any issues with your child’s experiences at school, staff will always be on hand to talk to you. They will often have come across the same problem before.

5. Don’t just be the teacher’s pet

Develop positive relationships with all members of school community, including children, teachers and parents (@McCarthyDuncan)

Getting on with pupils is important but so is being friendly to adults. They might be new at school, too.

6. Go clubbing

Encourage them to join a lunchtime or after-school club of their choice. It does wonders for their confidence! (@piombs)

Joining an after-school club or activity group can be a great way for your child to make friends at school. From train modelling to athletics, stoke your child’s extracurricular interests.

7. Be prepared…

Make sure they are properly equipped for school every day. It’s surprising how many don't turn up with a pen or bag (@elkstones)

If there was ever a time to spell out Robert Baden-Powell’s oft-quoted motto to "be prepared" in magnetic letters on your fridge, it is now. Using an organiser or diary will help your child remember what they need for school. 

8. ...Be very prepared

Buy three of everything! (@annettepower1)

Keep in reserve a monstrous pile of pens, pencils and rulers for when your child loses theirs. And store spare items of clean clothing in case of spillages at breakfast.

9. And pack for success

Encourage independence by asking your children to pack their own bag. Don't do it for them (@nicstimson)

If they can navigate an iPad, your child should be able to pack their own bag. Just make sure they’ve got everything they need before they walk out the door.

10. Before boldly walking to school

Yes, school’s big, yes school’s scary. But by half term you’ll be fine! (@AngeSciTeach)

Your child is embarking on a great adventure. Encourage them to learn and to take advantage of every opportunity their new school gives them.

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