This is the second blog in a series to support families preparing their child for starting school. In this blog, Whoosh Learning is focusing on how to develop your child’s awareness in their self-care over the summer. This will enable your child to develop their ability to keep themselves safe and healthy and in turn give them the skills to look after themselves at school in September.
Dressing and Undressing
This is an activity to do regularly over the summer – with their school uniform or with their normal home clothes. It can take quite a long time at first so don’t expect it to be a quick activity! This will really help your child (and their teacher) when changing for PE. In the early days in Reception, it can take a long time to undress and then dress and to find all the different items of clothes that have been taken off! Speaking from experience, when asking for help, children can wander around with their clothes and drop them on their travels! At the end of changing, there is often a lot of items of clothes with no owners! So as an aside… name everything- even socks!
- Teach a routine to changing for your child – one that works for them! Shoes off/socks off first, then trousers or skirt and put PE shorts on, next the school top and put PE top on. Repeat the routine regularly.
- Make a little neat pile of their clothes – this will help to try and keep it all in one place! Or you could practise putting the clothes in their PE bags to keep them all contained!
- Explain to your child that they don’t need to take off their underwear for PE.
Velcro is a Reception teachers dream! Laces are extremely hard for children to master and buckles can be tricky too. Teach your child top tips on how to know which shoe goes on each foot. You could add little coloured dots inside the shoes to help or explain that the buckles are on the outside of the feet. Another idea is to cut a sticker in half and stick one half on the inside of each shoe so when they are put side by side you can see how to make the sticker whole again!
Lastly, try the shoes on over the summer to help them to feel comfortable wearing them and then they will get lots of practise of taking them on and off!
Using the toilet and wiping
You will have been supporting your child a lot over the last 4-5 years to feel comfortable with going to the toilet. In preparation to support your child in this area and to feel confident to go to the toilet on their own at school practise these skills:
- How to pull the toilet paper by themselves and to only use what they need. In the early days in Reception there can be toilet paper everywhere and toilet bowls full to the brim!
- Learn to wipe properly – it can be a tricky skill to learn but encourage them to try and have a go at wiping themselves as this will give them confidence.
- Encourage your child to flush the toilet – for young children if they go into a toilet that hasn’t been flushed it can cause worry. Take the time to try different flush operations e.g. button push, handles.
When children start school they are surrounded by different germs and with a lot of children who are all learning how to keep themselves healthy! Taking the time to model how to wash hands and talking your child through the process is really important – a really good investment in time😊
Top tip – try painting your children’s hands or dip them into something gooey and explain to your child that you are pretending that these are ‘germs’. Then use water and soap and emphasise how to wash your hands thoroughly to get all the germs off. You could set up a little hand washing station outside over the summer with a towel and some soap so that they can regularly practise.
Using a tissue and learning to blow your nose
CATCH IT (in a tissue) – BIN IT (put it in the bin) – KILL IT (germs have now gone) is a Reception teachers motto! Quite early on, teachers around the country will be teaching children how to catch their sneeze or runny nose. But for some children learning how to blow their nose is tricky.
Teaching how to blow their nose:
- First children need to learn how to blow out of their mouths – blow bubbles, candles, blow through a straw or into a balloon
- Learn how to blow out of the nose – feel the air coming out of your nose as you blow, blowing a feather in the air, teach them to keep their mouth shut and then make silly games out of blowing through their nose e.g. moving objects like sequins.
- Practise blowing and wiping away and checking with a mirror that they have caught it all!
- Remind them that if they get any snot on their hands then it is important to wash their hands again otherwise they will be spreading the germs again.
Whoosh Learning would love to hear any other ideas/ top tips on ways to support children with self-care.
And remember….even if your child isn’t starting school in September, you can still enjoy using some of these activities to develop your child’s independence in looking after themselves.