Prepare your child for school

By Drum Digital
07 January 2014

It’s traumatic for children and their parents, but there are ways to make the first day of school a little easier. Here are some practical tips to smooth the way.

 Before starting school

* Work on puzzles together to help children focus and concentrate on a task. Work on a letter or number per week and use pictures and drawings to help them form associations, such as A is for apple.

* Encourage and praise them a lot.

*Read books from the library with your child on going to school.

* Help them with manners and helpfulness – saying ‘‘please’’ and ‘‘thank you’’ and being a good helper.

* Develop their independence by teaching them how to fasten buttons and tie their shoes themselves. This is especially important for children who will be attending boarding school.

* If your child goes to boarding school, you can make a ‘‘memory’’ book with photos of the family and give them some of their favourite things that will comfort them.

*Visit the school beforehand to help them become familiar with their classroom and other important areas.

*Teach them to follow instructions such as folding their clothes or putting their toys back in their places. This will help them to follow instructions from the teacher as well.

*Be positive and try to be enthusiastic without building up unreasonable expectations with statements such as ‘‘it’s going to be wonderful’’; you don’t know how it will turn out.

Before the big day

* Get them to bed early. Children of this age need at least nine hours sleep to be able to concentrate and function at their best.

* Let them help with preparations such as setting out their clothes or making their lunchbox the night before.

On the day

* Explain to your child what will happen. ‘‘I’m taking you to school, and at 7.30 I’m going to leave. If you cry, I’ll be sad, but I’m still going to leave.’’

* Once you’ve said goodbye, hand them over to their teacher. Hanging around may increase their anxiety.

* Follow your teacher’s cue. For nursery school entrants, you could spend a few minutes doing a puzzle or some activity with them, give them time to settle, and then leave.

- Vida Li Sik

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