Starting school can be a tough time for children. For most kids, their first day of school is also the first day they stay away from their parents and caretakers for a long period of time and are in a space filled with strangers. While academic preparation is a long way off, preparing your child for the emotional and social aspects of attending school becomes important.
School is also a place filled with rules, timings and routines – something a child may not be used to while at home. Kids in school also have to sit through classes without moving from their places for a long time. While it may take a while for children to get used to all this, you can always prepare them beforehand for what is coming their way.
Here are a few ways to help you prepare your child for school:
1. Tell your child that s/he is going to start a new schedule from now on. Tell them they have to wake up/sleep on time, and that they’ll have to be at school for a fixed number of hours everyday.
2. Visit the school with your child and familiarize him/her with the school. Meet the teacher if possible.
3. Tell your child that everyone s/he meets at school is going to be equally nervous and jittery about school, but reassure them that s/he is going to make some new, amazing friends and have a lot of fun.
4. If possible, try making your child meet a potential classmate before school starts. That way, they will have a friend when school starts.
5. If your child has already been in a pre-school, then it would be much easier for him/her to deal with staying away from his/her parents for a longer time.
6. Talk to them positively about school – make them comfortable with the idea of learning and thinking, and encourage them to ask you any questions/doubts they have about school.
7. Encourage your child to develop independent habits, so that they don’t require assistance for it from the school. For example, teach him/her to use the toilet independently, drink water from the bottle and take care of their belongings.
8. Teach them how to say and recognize it when someone calls their name. Also, tell them how to introduce themselves to the teacher and other kids.
9. Lastly, motivate and cheer them up. Tell them that even if they have a bad day, it will end and they will have a new day to look forward to, and that school is going to be really great!