First Year at School
Parenting Tips to Help Children Get Used to School Life
Parents need to plan, prepare and be actively involved to ease the transition from
preschool to school life for children.
Going to school for the first time is a big deal for many young children – and rightfully
so too. It marks a new chapter in their young lives and they need all the guidance
and support they can get from their parents to settle in school. Parental support
is extremely crucial the few days before school starts and should continue throughout
Before School Starts
Tell the child what going to school will be like. Have a positive attitude about
going to school and encourage the child to look forward to starting school. Most
children will have some sort of orientation sessions before school starts and these
will be a good experience for them. They also probably get to meet their new teachers
and classmates and have a tour around the school. Do not miss such events.
Also, get the child to practice the following things:
Taking on and off clothing such as jackets, jumpers, art smocks, socks and shoes.
Tying shoe laces. Use shoes with Velcro straps first if the child is not confident about tying shoe laces.
Opening and closing lunch boxes.
Going to the toilet independently.
Remembering to wash hands after going to the toilet as well as before and after eating
In addition, parents should label all the child’s belongings such as school bag,
lunch boxes, drinking bottles, books, toys, hats and clothing.
First Day at School
This is probably the most important day of the child’s life. So try to reach the
school a little earlier. Rushing, running late or entering the classroom after activities
have begun can be very upsetting for the child. If the child is early, he can spend
some time getting used to his new environment. This is particularly important for
shy and timid children who need more time to warm up to new people.
Once the child has settled in the classroom, give him a quick kiss and cuddle and
leave quickly. There is little point in lingering on no matter how anxious you might
be feeling. The child is likely to be in good hands. Later, when school finishes
for the day, pick him up on time. Don’t be late. The child may feel scared and worried
if he sees all the children in his class except him reunited with their parents.
On the way home, share the excitement of starting school. Ask the child how school
was, what he learnt at school and who his new friends and teachers are.
School Life throughout the Year
Parents should continue to show support and provide guidance all year round for
the child. Always allocate some time just to talk about school. Make it clear to
the child that he can always come to you for help if he’s unsure about a few things
School Life throughout the Year
Other important things to remember include:
Showing an interest in their “work”. The child is likely to bring home drawings, paintings and other art pieces. Praise the child for his effort.
Checking the child’s bag after school each day. There may be important notices from the school, class teacher or parents of other children.
Helping the child with reading and other exercises. In fact, daily reading with the child is highly recommended.
Understanding the importance of play. Supply the child with materials that stimulate creative play at school and at home.
Communicating regularly with the class teacher. Talk to the teacher, school counselor or principal if there are concerns such as child safety, bullying, fighting and other child behavior or disciplinary problems at school.
Try not to worry about the child too much. Most children will get used to their
school routines after a few weeks. The important thing is to prepare the child before
school starts and continue to be supportive throughout the year.
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