Prepare your child for school life

Sending your child off to school for the first time…only a parent would understand how difficult it is to rest easy on this day.

And it is January of the new year, slowly winding down; when February comes, you know you should let them go. In the end, you know it’s part of life and you have gone through this yourself.

Loop Lifestyle has put together a few tips from Parents magazine to help you prepare your child for his or her first day of school.

Here are four little lessons kids need before starting school:

Before your child starts pre-school or kindergarten, be sure he's schooled in these basics.

1.Bathroom Skills 101

Going to the bathroom at school often takes the top spot on kids' list of anxieties, and for good reason: Young children still don't have total control of their bladder. "At age 5, 15 percent of kids are still at risk of having daytime wetting accidents," says Chris Cooper, MD, director of pediatric urology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Your child may have bladder signals that come on suddenly (so he'll have to dash to the bathroom ASAP), or he may not recognise the early warning signs that he has to go. Plus, kids this age tend to get so absorbed in an activity that they'll wait until the last minute to pee.
Teachers will schedule bathroom breaks, but reassure your child that he can ask to go anytime. "By kindergarten, kids have the bladder capacity to last only three to five hours, so they should be going at least twice during the day," says Dr. Cooper. It's especially important to remind your child to go about an hour after lunch, since most accidents occur between 2 and 5 pm. Explain that even if he does have an accident, the teacher will help - and that he shouldn't worry, since it happens to lots of kids.
You can help make your child's bathroom trips easier by ensuring that he can undo his buttons and snaps. Even though your child may look adorable in overalls, he probably can't get them off very quickly. Tights are another big challenge for little girls, so try swapping them for leggings until she gets the hang of quick pull-downs.

2.Friendship Fine Arts

Walking into a classroom full of new faces can make any kid quiver. To boost his bravery, give him a refresher course in making friends. Lesson one: Assure him that his classmates are just as nervous as he is. Talk about how you made friends at a new job or mommy group - maybe you were worried at first, but everything turned out just fine.

Try role-playing to help your child feel comfortable approaching a potential friend. He might look for something he has in common with one of his classmates ("Hi, I'm Jack. I really like your backpack - it's my favourite colour. What's your favourite colour?") "Let him order his meal at a restaurant or give money to a cashier so he can practice talking to new people," says Lonna Corder, founding director of the Playgroup preschool in San Francisco.
Don't forget to cover the ways your child can be a good friend, such as sharing and taking turns. Praise him when he shares toys or waits to use the swing at the park, and explain that kids will be happy when he does the same at school.

3.Bus Basics (if your child’s new school provides transport)

That giant yellow bus can make any kid tremble, and it's easy to see why: Chances are your child has never set foot in anything larger than an SUV. Check in with the school to see whether it offers a practice bus ride before the first day so your child can see that it's not so scary.
If there's no test-run, take a walk with your child to her bus stop before school starts and go over the essential info she needs to know. Tell her that you'll introduce her to the driver and that he'll make sure everyone on the bus stays safe. You might suggest that she sit near the driver -- she may feel more relaxed being close to an adult. Cover dismissal time too, since kids are often anxious about finding the right bus after school. The teacher will probably explain the procedure, but you can prep your child ahead of time.

4.Intro to Dining

Your child's fine motor skills are still developing, so opening plastic containers or sandwich bags can easily turn into a frustrating battle.
Avoid mealtime meltdowns by running through a few "practice" school lunches at home. You'll learn what she can't open and have time to rethink your packing technique.

Happy preparations!

Gloria Bauai