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Being independent and ready for school

As your child is going to start school later this year, now is a good time to start working on their independence skills.  These skills will take time to learn, so by starting now you and your child will not feel pressured. 

Things that your child will need to be able to manage before starting school include; following instructions, feeding themselves, using the toilet independently, getting dressed and washing their hands. 

It is expected that your child will be able to follow simple verbal instructions when they start school.  These may include two or three parts, for example ‘when your picture is finished, put it in the box and then sit on the carpet.

What you can do to help

Some of these skills might be things that your child can already do, but for others it may be a completely new thing that they have to learn.  Wherever your child is at with these skills, they are things that will happen in your child’s life daily so there is plenty of opportunity to practice. 

Children learn best through play, so the more fun and exciting you can make learning a new skill, the quicker your child will pick it up.  A good place to start with learning something new is to talk to your child about it, while it is happening.  

Tips for helping your child understand and learn;

  • choose a time when your child is relaxed, calm and happy
  • Remove background distractions such as TV
  • Get down to your child’s level and use their name to get their attention
  • Use a calm voice to give short simple steps that your child will understand.
  • Use gestures and demonstrations to help them understand what you are saying. 

Once your child understands what they need to do, they may need lots of praise and encouragement to make sure that they are keen to keep learning. 
It may be that you have to break the bigger tasks down into smaller steps to make this more manageable, and then gradually build these up as your child becomes more confident. 

Remember every child is different and they all learn in different ways. Some children will pick these things up quickly and others will need more time and support.  

Please contact the Health Visiting team if you need further support with teaching your child any of these skills. 

If you have any concerns about your child being ready for primary school please speak to their Early Years setting or the school they will be going to for advice.

Need more information?

Who can help?

If you’re worried about your child’s development, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation. **Monday to Friday 9.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays**

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Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services:
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Funded by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council

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