If you have a child about to attend the big leagues, then you’ll probably be wondering how to prepare your child for school. It’s natural for you to feel anxious at this time, and might be a bit overwhelmed with all of it. It’s a significant change, not only for you but especially for your child. Just imagine your child going to an unfamiliar place with people they’ve never met before. Even for an adult, that can sound frightening.
As parents, we have to make sure that the transition is going to be smooth. If your child is already attending early childhood education classes, the transition to a big school may be more comfortable, but for those that aren’t, here are eight tips on how to how to prepare your child for the first day of school.
Prepare Your Kids For Big School
1. Attend The Orientation Together
Most big schools will conduct an orientation day for students and parents. The orientation will give you time to get to know other parents and for your child to be familiar with the other kids in the school. This time can also be a chance for you to see the parts of the school where your child will spend most of their time, like the classroom and the cafeteria.
The orientation will also give you the opportunity to get familiar with school policies and what routines your child should follow so that you can practice at home. It’ll give you the chance to ask relevant questions to the teachers even before school starts. Attending the orientation together helps both of you get accustomed to the environment of the school.
2. Pick A School Bag That They Like
One of the best ways to make going to school fun is by picking a bag that your child will adore. Their handpicked bag will give them a reason to want to go to school because they get to use it. When choosing a school bag, it’s important to guide them to get an appropriate one, but let them choose which bag design or character to get. You can even buy keychains or bag tags to personalize his bag and make it more appealing for them.
Get your child familiar with their bag even before school starts. Let them practice zipping and unzipping the bag and help them figure out what goes into each compartment. Make the trip even more exciting by letting them choose which lunch box, notebooks, and other school essentials to buy.
3. Talk To Your Child About School
A parent’s guide to preparing your child for school isn’t complete without this strategy. While this tip may sound simple, it works tremendously well when executed properly. Talking to them about school is about setting their expectations. Let them know that a school is a fun place and it’s a place that they can learn new things and create friendships.
If your child still feels terrified about going to school, read to them books about going to school or find a relative like a cousin who has started school and is willing to talk to your child about their experience. Set their expectations weeks leading to the first day of school and answer as many questions as you can.
4. Practice Saying Goodbye
Some kids may develop ‘sepanx’ or separation anxiety once school starts. If you feel that this will be a problem for your child, practice saying goodbye and create a routine around it. You could try coming up with your own secret handshake before they leave or giving them something to wear or to hold whenever they feel anxious about when to see you again.
5. Encourage Positive Behavior
So much of school is about behaving appropriately, following instructions, and preparing for school activities. Encourage positive behavior at home by letting your child know that he’s doing a good job whenever he does something positive. Give him simple instructions and each time he does it correctly give a reward like a sticker or a stamp. These things help reinforce those behaviors which will come handy once they start school.
6. Do A Dry Run
You can start doing a dry run a week before school starts. This includes eating a quick breakfast in the morning, dressing for school, and even going to school at the required time. Doing several dry run or rehearsals will help them be familiar with the daily activities once school starts.
7. Establish A Sleeping Routine
Much of the hard work comes in the morning. I know you’re familiar with it because you probably endured the same when you were going to school. While it’s difficult to wake up early in the morning, it’s manageable when you create a routine. Create routines for when your child should start doing their homework and set restrictions for screen time in the evening. Get your child used to go to bed early. Experts suggest that you begin creating the sleeping routine a month before the school starts.
8. Talk About Safety
Go over some situations with your child that they may encounter at school, including bullying. Let them know that these things may happen at one point in time and let them know what to do, and which person to go to in times like these. Talk to them about fire safety procedure, what to do when a person makes them feel uncomfortable, and when a stranger approaches them inside or even outside the school grounds. You can’t be too careful no matter how secure the school is.
These tips should help you prepare your kids for the big school and help them ease into that big transition. But, you should also know that the first few weeks will be overwhelming for everyone involved. Avoid putting too much pressure on your child and allow some downtime.
More importantly, give them a few hours before you ask them the proverbial question “How was your day?” instead of asking it right away as it allows them to have some more time to relax and process what happened at school.