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Starting school can be both an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience for not just your child but for you too. So to help keep the first-day jitters at bay, here are some helpful tips that you as a parent can do to better prepare your child for school.
Let your child know about the schedule. Starting school does change their schedule. Let your child know what time school starts and ends each day so that they know what to anticipate.
Find out how your child feels. This will give you an insight into whether your child is excited or anxious about starting school. If they are anxious, tell them how going to school is fun and that it is perfectly normal to feel jittery. Also, reassure them that if any problem arises at school, you will always be there to resolve them. This assurance will better prepare your child for school.
Don’t rush through the morning. Haste can cause your child to throw a tantrum. It is best to wake everyone up at a reasonable hour. This way you don’t have to rush your child through his/her morning rituals or risk being late to school.
Arrive early at the school. This gives your child time to settle in before the actual classes begin. Remember, children get restless if they are in an environment they are not familiar with. So letting your child interact with his/her teacher and letting them explore their school with you will help.
Put on a happy face. We understand that you are equally nervous about your child’s first day at school. But do not let this get the best of you. If your tone is cheerful and you seem confident about the entire arrangement, there’s a better chance that even your child will feel the same and be positive towards this experience.
Hang around for a while. Knowing that you are nearby will give your child the courage to explore his new surroundings. Once your child feels more secure, step back and let the teacher take over completely.
Keep your goodbyes short and quick. As painful as it may sound, it is always best to do this as long bye-bye rituals are harder for children. Let them know what time you will be picking them up. Also, never sneak out when your child is looking away as this will make your child insecure and less trusting.
Lastly, please make it a point to co-operate with your child’s teachers. Have faith in them and leave. Your child will soon settle down after a while.
Keep communication open. Adjusting to school life can be difficult for your child. It is essential to keep communicating with them during the first few weeks of school. Also, listen to what they have to say and lookout for signs that may indicate that things are not going well. Notice how your child behaves in the morning while getting ready for school or when you ask them how their day was. Remember to keep your questions simple. Ask them specifics like whom did they play with or have their lunch with. If their responses suggest that all is not well, then work with your child’s teacher to resolve it.
Motivate your child. Praise them at every step so that they stay motivated about going to school. For instance, you can give them a star if they wake up on time or let them decide what they want for lunch the next day when they get ready on time for school.
Bring a smile to your child’s face. Surprise them. Slip cute notes in their lunch boxes or books, use a cookie cutter to cut the idli in interesting shapes or draw a smiley on the pancakes. Explore your creative side and have fun. Your enjoyment will reflect on your child and make him/her happy and excited about going to school.