5 top ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ tips to help prepare your child for school. Featured

5 top ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ tips to help prepare your child for school.

There is a reason why ‘Personal, Social and Emotional Development’ (PSED) is a prime area of the early years curriculum...Without these skills, a child will not be in a place ready to learn, progress and develop in other areas of the curriculum. Furthermore, research has been conducted into the links between PSED skills in the early years and future academic attainment levels.

PSED refers to children developing a positive sense of self, approaching new challenges with a confidence in their abilities, forming positive and healthy relationships with others, beginning to learn how to cope with their emotions, and understanding and respecting behavioural boundaries.

So, with one term to go here are 5 top tips to help develop your child’s PSED skills in preparation for starting school:

  1. Fostering a Positive and Confident Sense of Self

I know as a parent myself, my aim is for my children to be happy and confident within themselves. It is an essential skill that will weave itself through all aspects of life, now and in the future. However, fostering this is not necessarily as straight forward as it sounds. My main tip, however, would be to encourage children to have the confidence to try new challenges with a belief that they can do it with a ‘give it a go’ attitude and a sense of perseverance. The key is that they do not feel defeated if they do not achieve what they set out to do and they feel confident to give it another try. As parents we can support this through careful wording and encouragement, in addition to providing opportunities for challenge, where the outcome is uncertain. There is much debate about the amount and use of praise at the moment...In my opinion, praise is most effective when used genuinely and is focused on the child and who they ARE rather than what they can DO. If a child feels judged on what they can do, they will develop an attitude based around “I am only worth something if I can...” and therefore not feel confident to try new things.

  1. Independence

The aim is for children to be responsible for themselves, their belongings and their actions. So, particularly useful at school would be independence in getting dressed, putting coats and shoes on, going to the toilet, tidying away toys and selecting resources or equipment appropriate for an activity. As parents, often due to time restraints, it is too easy to step in and help. However, allowing children more time to practise and become more independent is crucial and so helpful when they start school. In addition, learning to understand what feels the ‘right’ or the ‘wrong’ thing to do or say, making their own decisions and taking ownership of their actions are alternative ways to develop independence.

  1. Sharing and Interaction

The more opportunities a pre-schooler gets to interact and develop the skills of sharing and taking turns the less of a shock it will be when she starts school! It is, however, an on-going process at this age. Role-model expected behaviour when playing games. If disagreements occur, talk to the children about how to resolve issues, modelling language and behaviour to give them strategies to prevent or resolve disagreements in the future, and try again. Allow your child lots of opportunities to play and interact with other children; play with siblings, friends and have lots of play dates!

  1. Respect for Behavioural Boundaries

In a classroom the usual behavioural expectations and boundaries will probably include something similar to:

-          I can listen the first time

-          I can keep my hands and my feet to myself

-          I can share and take turns

-          I can look after things

-          I can tidy away

-          I can be kind to others

By the time children start school it is hoped that they have a general respect for others, adults and peers, as well as the books and equipment in school. Phrasing sentences in a positive way (rather than focusing on “Don’t do...”) will encourage the preferred behaviour. It is also important to talk to the children about why certain behaviour is expected (and the consequences) so they can be involved in making the decision and ultimately taking responsibility for their own actions.

  1. Handling Emotions

Expressing emotions is healthy. Talking about own and others’ feelings should be encouraged and is something that can be done at home and in school, as it is part of everyday life. Parents can model talking about feelings in an open and an honest manner to help children to become aware of their own feelings and the reasons and triggers behind these feelings. In addition, developing an understanding that actions have consequences to own and others’ feelings is an important skill to learn. Being able to negotiate a way to solve problems in a calm and positive manner is a skill that children will carry with them throughout their lives.  

It is important, however, to remember that all children are different. All children are unique. All children develop at varying rates and have different needs. Bounce Parental Consultancy offers very personalised and bespoke support via individual consultations or group workshops so please take a look at our website and get in touch if you feel we could help you and your child in preparation for starting school in September. As a mother and an experienced teacher I know what to expect when starting school and would love to offer my expertise to your personal situation.

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