Tips for Parents of Junior Infants

It is important to talk about school, especially about the possibility of new friends and new activities. Prepare your child for being away from you for a time by leaving them with a friend, relative or neighbour for a time.

Being in school means your child extends their social contact to mixing with many peers and developing independence. It is important to help your child develop social skills needed for school such as sharing (toys and games, time, space and attention), listening, turn-taking, tidying up and helping out.

Try to develop independent play and concentration through activities such as creating / colouring pictures, construction and cutting, playing board-games and doing jigsaws.

The first few days can be an emotional time for children and parents. Trust the teachers! The safety and well-being of the children are priority. If you are feeling upset, try not to show it – leave your child with the teacher and explain that you will be back at the appropriate time. Sometimes a small soft toy from home can be a comfort for the first days.

Accept that your child will be tired coming home and might need a rest or quiet time after school.

Talk about your child’s school-day – ask questions related to school-day activities, such as hearing stories, learning rhymes, telling news, painting / colouring pictures, playing games and singing.

Be sure that your child recognises her/his own belongings, including clothing. Label belongings clearly.

Practise opening and closing buttons and zips with your child.

Trousers with elasticated waists and shoes that close with velcro allow children of this age to develop greater independence.

When starting school your child should be able to go to the toilet independently. Check that she/he can wipe themselves and knows the routine of flushing the toilet, not overusing toilet-paper and washing hands.

Choose a school bag that will hold a lunch-box, a drink and two folders. The lunch-box and drinks bottle should be secure and open easily.

At this stage there is no need for a pencil case, pencils/pens, erasers or colours. These will be provided in school.