School starters ‘need teaching to speak to adults’

Expert gives advice for parents of children whose early years were in the pandemic as they prepare to find out their primary school for September.

Parents of children whose early years were in the pandemic and will be starting school in September should ensure that they are confident enough to speak to other adults and ask for help, a parenting expert has said.

The lockdown youngsters will find out on Monday which primary school they have been allocated.

Expert Daisy Upton, who is known online as Five Minute Mum, said parents should not worry about preparing their child academically.

She added: “Teachers will do all that…What parents should really focus on is crucial personal, social and health aspects of their child’s development…

“The crucial element, especially because of the pandemic and children who have grown up without perhaps being in a big classroom environment, is teaching our children how to ask for help and support.”

She added: “Children might not have been exposed to those environments where there are lots of people in a room quite so regularly, so having the confidence to speak to another adult is quite important.”

She said parents could do this by encouraging their children in shops to thank the cashier, or put something on the counter and say “can we buy this please?” in order to boost their confidence around adults.

Ms Upton shares ideas for games and activities for children on social media and her popularity soared during the pandemic. Her latest book, Starting School, is a guide for families.

She told the Standard that since the pandemic parents have become unsure about how to communicate with schools, and some think they are still unable to meet face-to-face with teachers.

She said: “I constantly remind people it’s okay to speak to the teachers to ask to meet them. Have a chat with them especially if you feel your child is particularly anxious or worried.”

Parents are set to find out if their child has been given a place at their first-choice of primary. There is fierce competition for the most popular London schools, with catchment areas or some as tight as 200 metres.

Ms Upton said if parents are disappointed by the school they are allocated they should take time to process the news before speaking to their children.

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