Celebrity Families

Giaan Rooney shares her top tips for kids starting school

Olympic swimmer and mum of two, Giaan Rooney shares her advice for prepping new school starters and tells us about her first kids' book...

By Fiona Wright
With her son Zander due to start school this year, Giaan Rooney shares her top 10 tips for for prepping new school starters.
TV host Giaan, who is mum to Zander, four, and Lexie, one, has also been busy with her first children's book entitled Lemon the Llama and hopes her kids will take an important message from it.
Take a look at her awesome pieces of advice below.

Giaan's top 10 tips for school starters

1. Talk positively and excitedly about going to 'big school'.
Zander definitely picks up on the vibe of anything new!
2. Give them a preview of what school will be like
Zander has been at kindy/ daycare five days a week for a couple of years now so he is very used to his surroundings and friends - we have taken him to his new school a few times over the holidays to play in the playground, walk around and see where the toilets are and get him acquainted with his new areas so hopefully it won't be scary for him when he actually starts.
3. Get organised early!
Zander loves seeing all his 'big kid' items like his back pack, school uniform and lunchbox, and is busting to use and wear it all, making it all very exciting and positive.
4. Try informing the teachers of your child with a bio
Our primary school has been great in sending out a 'help us to get to know your child form' where we have filled out Zander's strengths and weaknesses, what situations he thrives in, what makes him anxious or nervous, and what we would like him to get out of his first year at school.
If your school hasn't done this and you think your child could benefit from their teacher having a 'bio' of your child, then my advice is to supply them with one!
5.Work one-on-one with them at home.
Zander loves it when Dad gets a whiteboard out and they practice writing and counting, and when Mum reads to him. Hopefully learning at school will be considered fun too!
Giaan and her son Zander who is about to start school. (Image: Supplied)
6. Make sure their lunch is easy to eat
Parents, try to think of and then pack a lunchbox of not only food that your child will enjoy and eat but that they can actually get into themselves. This has been a concern of mine so we have been practising how to open containers and yoghurt pouches.
7. Label everything
And expect them to lose most of it!
8. Get their shoes properly fitted
Zander runs around barefoot most days so once he has to wear shoes five days a week I want them to fit properly, be comfortable and supportive.
9. Organise as much as you can the night before
Pack lunches, have uniforms set out and talk to your child about the next day, this will hopefully ease the morning chaos!
10. Enjoy this special time
Take lots of photos of their first day, we all love looking at pictures of ourselves on our first day of school!
Giaan hopes her first children's book will help kids understand that everyone is unique and that's what makes us special. (Image: Supplied)
What's your new book, Lemon the Llama about?
Lemon the Llama is the story of Lemon and her journey of self discovery. Lemon doesn't fit in with the other Llamas on her farm and is made to feel that her differences are a negative - but as she discovers more about her strengths and weaknesses she realises that her differences are what make her so special.
What inspired you to write a book?
I have always loved reading and writing but I never thought I would write a book! There was a part of me that wanted to challenge myself in a new way, but mostly I wanted to create something that incorporated important life lessons for kids in a fun and interesting way.
I have so many wonderful memories of getting lost in a good book, I really hope my kids discover that same enjoyment!
Your eldest child Zander starts school this year, how important has it been to instill a love of reading in him?
Given that I used to love nothing more than getting lost in a good book growing up, I definitely want to instill that love of reading in my children.
I feel that my passion for books has helped me develop my vocabulary, my grammar and expanded my knowledge of so many different ideals and cultures - I can't think of anything else that does all of that in a more tangible way, so hopefully Zander falls asleep with a book in his lap as often as I did!
What message do you hope Zander and other kids like him take from this story?
Every single person on this planet is different - different skin colours, different languages, different beliefs and different ideals - and we all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses.
I want Zander to be able to not only embrace differences but to be curious about what makes people different and how we can learn and grow from each other.
Lemon the Llama is now available on interactive children's reading app Kindergo. It will be featured on Kindergo's digital book library titled Back to School Island. Print copies are also available from the Kindergo website.
Giaan hopes her book Lemon The Llama will show readers that people are all different and that we have our own unique strengths and weaknesses. (Image: Supplied)

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