One of the key things about going to full time school is that your Kindergarten/reception child will be more independent and as over the summer we are working on key skills for going to school and this week focus is Independence. This is the area that I’m finding tough handing over the reins to my baby boy is finally admitting he’s not my baby/toddler/preschooler any more but will soon be a “big” boy, however it’s something that does need to be done and it’s key for things like getting ready for PE classes, not losing belongings and being responsible in the classroom helping the teacher and other pupils.
At just before 8 every morning J, T and myself will set off for J’s school around a 40 minute walk away from our house to get there a little early or on time depending on what distractions we have on the way – this is around 30 minutes earlier than we have been leaving this year and one of the areas that we have been looking at streamlining and giving J more indepence. Over the year we have gone from my full involvement to areas of the getting out of the door on time that J is in charge of.
At Pre-school one of the big things that they focus on are “Rights and Responsibilities” and we have adapted these for home handing over “Responsibilities” to J to do and T to some extent as well.
Here’s our Get out the Door Routine.
The night before we set out the clothes to be worn the following day – this year there has been choices involved which J makes, we have always done you can have this or this limiting the choice to possible “good suggestion” but next year for us J will have a uniform of grey trousers, white polo shirt and a red sweater each day – doesn’t this make it so much easier for us.
Key Point 1 – Prepare clothes the night before getting your child to choose the outfits if needed as the summer progresses and the clothes out the night before is establish hand over this responsibility to your child ready for starting school.
As well as the clothes I also prepare lunches – this is something that my mum did as it saves so much time in the morning – again we want to hand some independence over to J so I’m introducing him deciding what he wants to have for lunch. I have created a Magnetic Lunch Planner for him where he chooses his sandwich, fruit, yogurt flavour and snack bar – I’ve added a Printable that you can download if you wish or create you own using clip art and print onto magnetic paper and add to the fridge for the night before. Once done I put the lunch box in the fridge and then the next morning get it out and place it by his bag ready for him to collect on the way out.
Key Point 2 – Get your child involved in their lunch choices and MAKE it the night before when there is less of a rush have a set place where it can be found to take the next morning.
Remember to set the alarm – may seem silly but even if now you have a child that gets up at the crack of dawn (we do!) the change to 5 days a week and full time may have the effect that sleep becomes longer (I can wish can’t I?) so with an alarm they will be up in time to complete your full morning routines before needing to leave the house
Key Point 3 – Set an alarm, you and they need time to do all of the morning routine, a stressed Mum is not good.
This is very much a personal choice but because I have messy eaters we don’t get dressed until after breakfast that way the messy pyjamas can go in the wash and the clothes that they wear for the day at least look clean for a little while, but work out what works best for you and stick to it during the week. When it comes to getting dressed J’s responsibility in the morning is to get as much on as he can – we are working on getting pyjama tops off and the polo shirt on as this is something that he finds incredibly difficult and I must admit that I struggle with a little bit with him (he has a large head in relation to his clothes size so the neck holes are generally quite tight) but during summer we have a lot more time to work on it and things like getting ready to jump into the paddling pool make it fun as well.
Key Point 4 – Work on what works best for you and the child, eating is messy for us so we don’t get on our day clothes until breakfast is eaten.
There are some things that have to be done in the morning in our house – clothes in the washer, breakfast plates put out and washed up after wards, clothes in the drier or on the line, dog walk and fed. Little bits of these daily jobs can be handed over to your child. We have J and T help unload the washing machine into baskets, take their plates to the table and put in the sink afterwards and feed the dog. It may only be small things but it can really help to make them more independent and look at how they transfer into school days – washing out the washing machine – getting supplies out for the class, setting the table and clearing away – getting art equipment out and put away etc…
Key Point 5 – Hand over small parts of your morning jobs to the children giving them responsibility and independence to do things at home and help you out.
When it comes to getting out the door we have that down – in the hallway we have coats (which I generally put out the night before based on the weather forecast), shoes, bag and lunch box. We have brought shoes that I know that J can get on himself and again for school shoes will do the same working on skills like lacing them at home before we buy a pair so that I know he can do it before he needs to do it every day. The bags I unpack at the end of the day checking for letters and at the same time repack making sure that there is everything for the next day included saving time in the morning.
Key Point 6 – Have a get out the door area where everything can be found and use it. Unpack and pack bags the night before to save time in the morning.
We’re getting ready for K through play with 5 other bloggers this summer – this week is all about fostering independence last week was social skills needed for school and next week will be Early Maths.
Check out the other posts for this week
Everyday ways to foster independence skills in Children – Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Practicing Independence at Home – Mess for Less
and be sure to follow our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest Board for lots of awesome Kindergarten Readiness resources, ideas and activities.