Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How to prepare your younger child for when their older sibling starts school

My 2 year old son is about to lose his constant companion.
He has never known life without his big sister. She is there to play with him as soon as he wakes up, she accompanies him to the childminder, they eat their lunch together, she is there for him every day. For the past two years, she has been an integral part of his every day life.

But from the beginning of September, she will be leaving him to start life at school. For six hours a day, five days a week, she will be doing something else, with other children, and he will be left at home.

While there is plenty of information about preparing your child for school, there's not much around to help get your younger child ready for life without their sibling.

So here are some five ideas about how you can help your younger child get used to life when their older sibling starts school.

1. Involve him in the preparations. As you sew nametapes into the school uniform, tell him about how his big sister is about to start going to school and what she might be doing when she is there.
2. Make plans for what he will be doing when she is at school. Plan trips to the park, the library, the zoo, the supermarket.
3. If you can, do a practice run where he goes to his childcare provider on his own. You could use this opportunity to do something special with your older sibling too - one last day of one-to-one quality time before school starts.
4. Arrange a couple of play dates for the first few weeks with other children his age who may also have an older sibling starting school.
5. Plan some simple, but special, activities for when she gets home from school. Bear in mind that she might be tired after a busy day learning and doing new things, but involving the two of them in helping make the dinner, baking a cake or doing a jigsaw together will help re-establish their bond and remind them how much they enjoy each other's company.

What advice would you add to help your younger child get ready for their older sibling starting school?

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