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While many of us are counting down to the last drop off of the year, those with children starting school next year are experiencing varied emotions. It is both an exciting and daunting time for parents and children, and well worth reflecting on how to best prepare yourself and your child.

Everyone wants day one to be wonderful but this can overwhelm and complicate how we communicate with our soon–to–be–preppies. Over the next several weeks to January 22nd take care to consider your approach to preparing your child. Discuss classroom and playground routines and expectations, drawing on their strengths and presenting their individual challenges honestly and positively. They are stepping into a new chapter of growth (as are you) and for them to hit the ground running, they will need you to work with them as a team.

It’s easy for us as parents to get caught up in providing all the physical things, managing routines, lunchboxes and the new social community of school. But this needs to be managed within the context of giving your child the best chance of early success (and by success I mean they are happy, enthusiastic and engaged). Try and resist overwhelming the child with all of the above and communicate with them productively each day as they settle in. Listen and encourage them, respect them as little citizens and show them that you have every confidence in their ability to grow and shine as capable learners. Reinforce where appropriate and work constructively to address the challenges along the way. And there will be some.

Dismiss the temptation to compare your child. Learning is not a race. It is a journey to be enjoyed.

As Seen In Families Magazine