Going back to school after the long break can be exciting for most children. But for some kids going to school for the first time or transferring to a new one, the first day can be terrifying. Here are five tips for parents to prepare their children for the first day of the term.
1. Focus on the positive
Assure your child that school is a place to learn and have fun. Help redirect your child’s attention away from his worries towards the positive by asking questions such as “What are the things that you are most excited about on your first day of school?”. Encourage your child by pointing out things to look forward in school such as making new friends. Ask him what he likes best about going back to school.
2. Prepare your child
Let your child know what to expect and what his new daily schedule will be like. He may have to wake up earlier, and his meal times might be different. The child could also have extra-curricular activities. Don’t crowd all new activities in the first week so that he has time to adjust to his new schedule. Following a routine can help children cope better with school.
3. Plan ahead
To ensure that everything goes smoothly on the first day of school, plan ahead. Make sure your child’s school supplies are in order, and all meals are taken care of. Try to have your child meet a classmate before the first day of school so that he will already have a friend when school begins. Leave earlier for school so you can walk your child to the classroom. Be sure to say goodbye to your child instead of sneaking away because your child may feel more distressed when he realises you’re gone.
4. Nurture independence
Your child would need to manage a lot of things on his own once classes start. Therefore, try to prepare your child by introducing some responsibilities to him before going back to school, such as packing his own school material. The transition back to school will be easier once your child is able to manage basic needs without relying too much on an adult.
5. Be a role model
Children often take their cues from parents. Therefore, the more confidence and comfort you can show, the more your child will understand there is no reason to be anxious about starting school. Don’t reward your child’s protests, crying, or tantrums by allowing him or her to avoid going to school.