Starting school is an important phase not only in the child’s but also the parents. As a parent, you must prepare your child adequately for this step in their life because it’s an experience out of the norm for the child.
There are basic skills you can start training your child to have an easy time adapting to the school environment. These skills include;
- A routine for the child.
- Teaching positive interaction with peers and adults.
- Concentration and staying put and calm.
You can instill these basic skills in the child through various practices, as elaborated in this piece.
How to prepare a child for school; 14 Tips explained
- Attending school orientation meetings
Figure out when the school holds its orientation meeting and make a point of attending. This session is vital as the staff gets to know the child, and they also get to meet their peers with whom they’ll be starting off school.
Moreover, find out the school’s basic rules like the school routine, staff expectations and the children’s playground. This experience makes the child familiar and comfortable with the school atmosphere and prepares you for what’s to come.
- Organizing play dates
Over the holiday period, organize play dates with your child’s classmates. Having the child play and socialize with familiar children makes adjusting to social school life easier. Also, having supportive relationships with the families of these kids can be very effective in the child’s life. It might take a long time but will be worth it.
- Enroll them in early education
Early education, inclusive of kindergarten and childcare, enhances your child’s development. It also equips them with the confidence and skills required to begin school. Enrolling your child in early education provides a smooth, easy transition into school.
The child will have acquired important schooling skills such as sitting and listening, contributing in conversations, sharing and handcrafting skills such as painting or coloring and using scissors or glue.
- Engage the child in cheerful, positive school talks.
Instilling excitement and positive energy in your child about school will help them prepared and eager to join the school. Personalizing school books are an ideal way of familiarizing the child with their new school.
Let the child explore the school through photos and videos and ask any questions regarding the school. Doing this makes the child more comfortable and at ease about their new school
- Note your child’s reaction to the school conversation
Monitor if their reaction displays confusion, anxiety or excitement. Address any of their concerns that may cause these negative emotions, but be careful not to overwhelm the child with information.
Remember, a child is not like an adult. They find it difficult to think about future events weeks or months away as they focus more on the present and the near future. Seek help if your child is having difficulty adjusting positively to the school conversation despite your efforts.
- Take note of any challenging behavior displayed by the child and address it with understanding.
Children normally communicate with their behavior; thus, if your child displays concerning behavior, talk with the child to establish any underlying issues. Train the child on how to handle problems with positive behavior. Even after the child settles in school, always support them in their development.
If the child’s behavior keeps worsening, seek professional help.
- Teach the child positive behaviors
Instill virtues and discipline in the child to make their social life easier with others. You can encourage them to be positive, learn to say hi, be polite, kind, respectful and affectionate. These are values they can pick from how you all relate in the house.
- Establish a routine for the child
Set a specific time for the child to eat, sleep or do other activities in the house. Routines help the child get accustomed to a particular way of doing things, even at school. Especially train your child to sleep early and wake up in the morning weeks before commencement of school.
- Train the child to use the washrooms independently
When your child joins the school, it is important to train them to use the bathrooms by themselves. Teach them skills such as;
- Asking for permission to leave for the washroom when needed, they don’t have to mess themselves.
- Knocking on a closed washroom door.
- Closing the door when using the loo.
- Wearing their clothes back on before leaving the bathroom.
- Teach them how to use their items
One of the things the child has to learn is packing and unpacking the backpack. Show them how to open their lunch box and water bottle as well as to close them. Train them on how to eat from the lunch box.
Moreover, also teach them how to take care of their things, so they don’t have them misplaced. Ensure the child can distinguish the backpack from the rest, most probably by labeling.
- Teach the child self-calming techniques
The child needs to know how to calm themselves when anxious or upset, which is normal in social setups. You can encourage them to have a drink of water probably or squeezing a stress ball or any other of your preferred activity.
You can discuss this with the child’s teacher so that they can understand the child’s emotions.
- Teach them pre-academic skills
Teach the child how to pronounce their name accurately and, if possible, how to spell it loud and write it down. Name writing is one of the first basic activities the child will practice as they start schooling. Also, teach them how to use scissors, hold a pencil or even crayons.
Such activities give the child a head start above the rest, making it simple for them in school. This increases the likelihood of the child enjoying the new experience.
- Teach them a special goodbye routine
For the child to say goodbye to the parent without tantrums or crying is a very big step. Train them how to handle the situation by explaining that they will have fun with other children like her and assure them you will come to get them later.
You can also indulge the teacher in ways that have worked with other kids before so you can try them out.
Practice all the tips above so that the child gets wind of them before starting school officially.
Some 10 tips of making the first day of kindergarten easier
It is perfectly normal for the child to have feelings of anxiety before starting school. This article highlights tips you can use to make the day easier for your youngster. These tips include;
- Explain to the child the positive aspects of joining the school, like meeting old friends and making new friends.
- Tell them it’s normal to feel anxious, and they are not the only ones having these feelings. Also, inform them that the teachers are very friendly and understanding and will make them feel comfortable.
- Visit the school in advance so the child may familiarize with the environment.
- Buy the child things that will make them excited to use, such as a pretty lunchbox, bag or even pencils.
- Assure them that you are in the whole experience together. Cheer your child up by putting a note in their lunchbox to remind them you are constantly thinking about them.
- Always remind your child to tell you whatever problems they face in school to handle the situation.
- Drive your child to school or accompany them to the bus stop and pick them up personally on the first day.
- Encourage the child to make new friends and even invite them for playtime over the weekend.
- Help the child make friends with children in the neighborhood attending the same school.
- Engage the child after school, ask them about their day, and shower them with affection and hugs. Enquire about anything they may need to make them more comfortable in school.
At what age should a child start school?
You may probably be wondering at what age you should enroll your child in school. Many parents have different opinions on this as they tend to consider several factors, especially during the pandemic. In some states, there are laws on the legal age a child ought to attend school.
Some parents enroll their children when they are older, probably 5-6 and take them straight to kindergarten. However, it would help if you took the child to pre-kindergarten, where the child will learn the basics such as using the bathroom, washing their hands, putting on their shoes, taking care of their belongings, socializing etc.
When they learn these tasks at a younger age, it frees up their mind for other kindergarten tasks such as reading and writing.
Pre-kindergarten probably starts at the age of 3-4 years, which may seem too young for some parents. Nonetheless, some experts advise that enrolling a child in school should be more about the child’s development and not a matter of the calendar.
The child should be emotionally and psychologically ready to spend hours away from you and the comfort of their home for a few hours daily. Also, their confidence level is another important aspect to look at to determine readiness.
In addition, parents can play a crucial role in preparing the child to be ready for school instead of just dropping them off one day in a new place without any preparation. In a nutshell, going to school for the first time is not a matter of the birthdate but a matter of the child’s comfortability and preparedness.
How many hours should a pre-school be?
After enrolling your child in pre-school, the next step is determining how many hours the child will be spending there. This question is important to try and figure out before enrolling children in school. The worry emanates from the point of attachment between the parents and the child, though whatever the hours; both parties should start adjusting to a little separation during the day.
The number of hours may vary from institution to institution; however, there is the six-hour standard rule. It is also important for an institution to understand that a child’s body and mind don’t function as an adult; hence, it cannot overwhelm the child an entire day with activity after another.
Most times, the 6 hours involve a fun-filled curriculum where the child can learn and enjoy fun field activities. Parents should not look at the 6 hours but rather the benefits and development; this process prepares the child for the next life stages.
How do I prepare my child for an assessment?
Assessment is part of learning. In these tests, the child may need written and practical tasks. Others may even be oral tests. The tests are usually to examine what the learner has learned so far to confirm their level of understanding.
Such assessments may last from 3- 8 hours in total, taking up a few days. The child needs preparation for this period, and hence the parent can try the tips below;
Preparing my child for an assessment
- You should ensure the child has enough sleep and has a good night’s rest.
- Make sure you prepare the child a healthy breakfast the morning of the test.
- It is best to explain to the child the things they should expect on their evaluation paper.
- Explain to them the importance of the evaluation in a positive light.
- Allow the child to practice and prepare for the assessment with online evaluations beforehand.
- Ensure the child has all the assessment necessities in their backpack.
Schooling is an important aspect of every child’s life. Parents ought to help their children prepare for this step so that the child welcomes the idea with a lot of positivity as they become great people in the future.