Preparing your child for school
- 10 Months ago
Come June, most of us will have to start preparing to send our children back to school and some for the first time. We usually find ourselves in a tussle once school commences, with trying to wake them up, get them ready, fed and to school on time. And let's not get to trying to make them study or so their homework after more than a month of free or play time. How do we deal with a cumbersome yearly occurrence such as this?
When a child has to attend school for the first time it is always hard, especially if they never had to be away from home before. This can make for many different issues within a child like; nervousness, withdraw, bed-wetting and many other ailments that can come from dealing with situations they never had to before.
You need to make your child feel comfortable and excited about going to school by ensuring them that everything will be ok. That there is nothing scary to worry about at school, teachers and principal and the other staff at the school are there to assist them and to help them learn and adapt to first-time education. It is important for your child to know that even though they are at school to learn, that they will have fun as well. Going on field trips, meeting new people and learning how to have a social active life with others like them. Children also need to know that no matter what you will be there for them through it all.
Working parents especially have a harder time dealing with their children going to school, for the first time or otherwise. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the month to come:
Prepare your child for school:
Young children may have anxiety about being separated from their parents, especially if it is for the first time. This anxiety may even cause an upset stomach or other concerns that makes wanting to go to school even more difficult. Prepare your child in advance of first starting school so that they have mentally processed what is going to happen, they are excited about it, and they are used to the fact that they can separated from their parents and their parents will always be back. If you are a stay at home mum, start taking your child to play groups where you are not in attendance. Also start introducing structured play to children so that they are used to the structure of school. Build up excitement for school by letting them know that school is a place to learn and to make friends.
Talk to children who do not want to go to school:
Identify why they do not want to go. Children have a ton of reasons why they may avoid school. It can be everything from separation anxiety to anxiety over grades or learning problems to peer conflicts, including bullying. We all tend to be curious and social by nature and school is an experience that fills those needs. If children do not want to attend, there is a reason. Talk to them. Often children will tell us. If they do not want to talk, then talk to the teacher, the bus/van driver, their friends, etc. and find out what is going on. If a child suffers in silence the situation will just get much worse.
Listen to children when they present concerns about school:
Children often have a hard time advocating for themselves. Take all of their concerns seriously and make sure that they are getting the help that they need. If children are anxious, it is often over a problem that can be solved. Help put a stop to bullying, teach them problem solving and conflict resolution skills, and get them help for learning struggles. Also, let their counselor and principal know. School can also be a negative experience to avoid if the negatives outweigh the positives. Help to make sure that school is a positive experience for children.
Make going to school more rewarding than not going:
Help to set up positive experiences for going to school. This could be anything from being able to go on a field trip to a day to themselves for all of their effort at school. Then, make sure that avoiding school is not reinforcing. Do not let them watch television or play on a day that they have missed school.
Adjust bedtime schedules:
Normally, children are allowed to stay up longer during the summer holidays. They stay up late and get up late. The back to school schedule will be totally different. They will have to get up early and go to bed early. Before the start of school, put your child to bed at least a half hour earlier. If done properly, the new back to school schedule won't seem as harsh.
Limit free time and playtime:
Summer holidays are filled with freedom. Your child has to become acclimated to the new back to school schedule. For a younger child, limit playtime. For an older child, decrease the amount of time that they are allowed to watch television or use the computer.
Get them back on a regular eating schedule:
Unfortunately, children tend to eat more during the summer. They are around more snacks and goodies at this time. They won't be able to continue the same eating schedule when school starts. You don't want them to lose their concentration due to hunger pains. They also start eating breakfast and dinner later than usual. Get them adjusted to eating less and on schedule.
Find ways to put learning back on the agenda:
Find a few educational games or plan more trips to the library. Try anything that will make your child more receptive to learning. Although, your child will probably hate these simple changes, they are greatly needed in order to ensure a smooth transition. These simple suggestions should have your child more than ready for going back to school.
Shop for school supplies and school clothes with your child:
For many children, back to school shopping can be a lot of fun. Make sure that you take your child's school supply list with you when you go shopping. Let your child help pick out their school supplies, as well as a backpack or water bottle.
Talk to your child about the upcoming school year:
Ask what goals they have for the new school year and what activities or sports they hope to get involved in. Tell them how exciting it is to go back to school and try to instill that sense of excitement in them.
Don't forget to go over important school information with your child. Be sure that your child knows his teachers' names and where his classroom is. Go over your child's class schedule as well.