Starting school is such a landmark age for every kid. In a way, it opens up a whole new (pretty big) chapter of their life, one where they will be a student for quite a long time. And it also in a way marks the end of their constant dependence on their parents, as they will now spend more time without them present. And while this transition can be difficult for both parents and the child, regardless of how prepared or excited for it both are, there are a couple of things parents can do to help their kid be as prepared for school as possible.
And a majority are just things parents actually need to stop doing for their child, and should instead teach the child to do on their own. Which is why it's never too early to start practicing things like eating on their own, tying shoelaces or opening juice boxes. Other things are more emotional and psychological, like making them used to being apart from the parents and not always getting things their way.
Anyway, here they are, 20 things parents should definitely stop doing by the time their child is ready to start school!
20 Going With Them To The Bathroom
If the child is old enough to be starting school it should really be also taught to go to the bathroom on their own. And it is quite surprising how many parents don't think of this enough in advance, and start training their children to be independent when it comes to this. If the child still needs help for the bathroom, or refuses to go alone, it won't only make the teacher's life harder, but chances are they'll also get made fun of by other kids, who are already doing this on their own. Starting to train the child a couple of months in advance is something all parents should do.
19 Dressing Them Every Morning
Sometimes parents cling on to their kids and try to prevent them from growing up and gaining some independence. So they still dress them, even if the child is going to school. Some parents do it because the kid is slow at it, and if they help it goes much faster, and as we all know, time is money, especially in the morning. But honestly, it's much better to calculate the time and wake your child up a bit earlier, let them dress themselves slowly, and have no worries. Besides, the child will have to know how to dress for sports class at school, so this is kind of essential.
18 Not Letting Them Do Things Their Way
Parents love to interfere and show their kids how to do stuff their way. But fact is, if a child doesn't explore and learn anything on their own, how will they grow and become more independent. And while it's sometimes so hard not to help them or show them an easier way, parents should rather let the child learn and explore on their own. Of course, sometimes a little help can go a long way, but often it's also unnecessary, and even counter-productive. They won't always have a parent around to show them how to properly do things, which is why it's okay they discover that on their own.
17 Over-Scheduling Their Free Time
Over-scheduling the child before they start school, and especially during the first couple of months of school is a big no go. School will take enough of their time anyway, which is why parents should really let them enjoy a bit of freedom before it starts. And once it does, over-scheduling them is even worse, as it can potentially cause the child to start hating school as well as whatever other activity they are having. The best thing is to listen to each child individually and if they say they want to do some extracurricular activity, then let them, but if they are not feeling no one should force them.
16 Picking Supplies For Them
School supplies can be such a fun thing to pick out for kids, and it lets them express what they like and what they think is fun or cool. And when parents do the school supplies shopping without the kids, they kind of rob them off this lovely experience. Besides, its the child that will eventually use these supplies, so it's only natural that they get a say in which ones they want and like. Having a fun experience like this before school starts can actually make them excited for the first day of school when they finally get to use all that awesome stuff.
15 Letting Them Stay Up Late
A healthy amount of sleep is essential for any kid going to school, no matter how old they are, but especially if they are very young. Which is why parents need to make their kids go to sleep at a decent hour, and if the child is a night person, they should definitely take a couple of months before school starts to start training them to go to bed earlier. This way they are always well rested before school, and can use their full potential while they're there. Yeah, the kid might resist going to bed earlier, but after a couple of night it will start getting used to it!
14 Physically Feeding Them
Now any child above about three years old should definitely already eat on their own, but some parents just seem to not be great at teaching them, and they continue feeding them instead. And parents seem to also be very afraid to teach their child to cut their own food, but fact is there's plenty of child-safe knives one can get, and this way the kid can actually practice cutting their own bites very early on. But especially if the child is about to start school, they should already have mastered this, as it will make their and their teachers lives much easier.
13 Cleaning Up After Them
When kids are babies and toddlers it's acceptable that parents clean and tidy up after them, but teaching them to put things in their own place as early on as possible is definitely a good thing. This way they form a habit of putting things where they belong, which will immensely help them not lose things at school. Oh, and an extra tip for making sure they always keep their school supplies safe is labeling them with their name, this way they (and their peers) know whom the stuff belongs to. But back to cleaning, they don't have to do it perfectly, let them do it in their own way, just don't do it for them.
12 Checking On Them All The Time
You know those parents who just keep on checking on their kid every fifteen minutes, asking if the child is fine, if it needs anything, if it's hungry etc? Yeah, those parents are not doing themselves a favor. Checking on a child in a reasonable time manner is okay, but too often is not good for them (as they feel they get zero privacy), and it's definitely not good for the parent, who will, because of this, be hurting once the child starts going to school and they can't really check upon them. So no matter how much you might want to take a peek at your kid playing in their room, try not to - they're fine.
11 Tying Their Shoes
Might seem as an obvious one, but many kids start school not knowing how to tie their own shoes, and with just a couple of weeks of practice beforehand, this can be avoided. Besides kids who know how to tie shoes at that age are definitely deemed as cool by other kids, and who wouldn't want their kid to be looked at like that. So instead of having a child who needs the teacher's help every time their shoes untie, parents should prepare the kid so that they don't need anyone to do that. It's little ways like this that can make the child independent from an early age!
10 Letting Them Get Their Way With Tears
Almost all kids try this at some point, it's natural. When they were babies and toddlers parents would immediately run to help and please them as soon as they'd start crying, which is why some kids later on try to use this to get their way. But while they're already a toddler parents should start reacting less and less to these outbursts, and only pay attention to the real ones. If the kid still cries to get their way by the time it's supposed to start school, it might end up being very hard for their teacher to deal with them, and other kids might start making fun of them as well.
9 Always Pleasing Their Child
Parents need to know when to say no, because the child will come across plenty of no's at school, whether it's from the teachers or other classmates. So while it is okay to please your child most of the time - especially if they deserve it with their good behavior - do also show that that no can be a frequent response, and make sure they know how to deal with it (aka they should not start crying or keep pushing it, accepting a no here and there is just part of life). Talking to the child and explaining all of this is also always a good approach.
8 Opening Juice Boxes Or Bottles
Yup, another one that might be obvious, but sometimes parents just seem to not think of it in advance. So the child ends up coming home with an untouched drink box or bottle just because they didn't have the strength or skills to open it. This is why practicing in advance is good, and sticking to the same packaging the child is used to. And if it happens that you need to change the juice brand or box, just practice at home with them again. Simple things like this can save the child a lot of embarrassment in front of their friends.
7 Always Reminding Them Of Things
Parents love to remind their kids of everything. Seriously, even if you're far in your twenties, chances are your mom will still call you to remind you things. But when you're at the age of starting school, sometimes being reminded of everything all the time can make the child not rely on themselves. And learning how to rely on themselves at this age is much better than learning it later on. So instead of reminding their child of the things they need to bring or do all the time, try to stick to once a day, in the morning, and have them try to remember. With practice this will become easy for them.
6 Encouraging Naps
While naps are great (seriously, who doesn't love a nap here and there), they also don't fit into most lifestyles. And when a child is starting school, getting sleepy at some point during school should really not happen. This is why parents should start weaning their child off of napping at least a year before school starts, this way their body has enough time to adjust to a new sleeping pattern. And while it is quite hard to say to a tired child that they can't sleep, a great way to prevent them from sleeping is to try and keep them distracted, play with them, take a walk to the park, engage them in helping you cook etc.
5 Expecting Too Much Of Them
Parents who expect too much of their children can be such a burden to them, and that is not good for anything. While there are reasonable expectations parents can have, expecting their child to be good at everything and being visibly disappointed that they are not will only harm the child, make them grow distant, and have them stop telling their parents the truth. Instead praise the child when they do something well, and encourage them to do something better the next time if they did it bad. No one is born perfect, and if anyone, kids are allowed to make plenty of mistakes!
4 Looking After Their Things When Out
Parents can practice this way in advance before school starts. Just make sure the child has a little backpack where they can bring water and a sandwich, and anything else they might need when you go for a walk or to the park. This way if they put the backpack on a bench, they will have to remember to take it once you leave again. Kids who start school need to be able to come back home with all the things they brought to school that morning, and training this is quite easy. Just make sure they never have anything too valuable, in case they do accidentally lose or forget something.
3 Being With Them All The Time
Separation anxiety is real for the child as much as it is for the parent. So in order to prevent this from happening when the child starts school, parents should have a couple of hours away from their child in advance. Just leave them with someone else (a grandparent, an older sibling or a babysitter) for a bit while you go shopping, to the movies or lunch with friends. It might seem a bit weird at first, even unnatural (why would you leave your child at home, sad that you left while you're out having a good time), but after a while everyone will get used to it. This way leaving them at school will be easy-peasy for both!
2 Allowing Them To Take Their Favorite Toy Wherever
Some kids love bringing their favorite toy or blanket with them wherever they go, and while it's okay to allow this up to a certain age, when they start school they should definitely be over this. No one wants to be made fun of for going to school with their favorite teddy bear, and while it may cause a bit of tears, parents should really try their hardest to make the child leave the item at home. Having a reason they understand it the best way to go about it, so maybe try to tell them the teddy/blanket isn't old enough for school yet, and it will start school in two years. That way you give the child plenty of time to get over it.
1 Stressing Over Their Child Growing Up
Kids always grow up too fast for their parents. And not having them little, and dependent on them is something that can be quite tough on the parents. Letting a child out there in the unpredictable and stressful world is a very hard thing to do for parents, which is why often they struggle with sending their child off to school. They stress, they are anxious, irritable and they constantly worry. That's okay, it comes with being a parent, but stressing and worrying too much is something parents should try to minimize. The child will be fine, and the child does not deserve a stressed out and anxious parent.