Emotionally prepare children for the first days of school
Starting school for the first time is a novel experience. As the little ones have no clues as to what will happen, it can cause anxiety and fear. If they are more familiar with the concept of schooling, they will be more emotionally prepared for the first days of school.
How to help children overcome the emotional challenges at this milestone?
Here are some tips:
1. Pay a visit to the school
Tour the school with your child and tell them what they would do there, for example: “You would sing songs with other children here.” When you walk or drive past the school, you can point it out to you child and say: “You’ll go to this school next week.”
Make them feel that you are proud of them going to this school soon.
2. Help your child understand the school routine
Tell your child what a normal school day would be like.
You can use soft toys to role-play and demonstrate the routine.
“Mummy Elephant says goodbye to Baby Elephant outside school. Baby Elephant starts to have lessons.
At game time, Baby Elephant plays with his new friends. Then, they have snacks together.”
3. Read stories about first school experience
Discover with your child what could happen during the first days at school through stories.
Your child can identify with the characters in the story and learn how to deal with different emotions and feelings that come with going to school for the first time.
4. Organise pre-school play dates
Arrange some time for your child to play with other classmates before the school starts. It gives children the opportunity to make friends.
On the first days of school, they will feel more comfortable and secure in the company of friends.
5. Cultivate a positive mindset
Avoid hinting it might be scary at school, such as repeatedly asking your child if they are scared or worried or saying how strict the teachers or school rules would be.
Instead, reassure your child that they are always supported and they will not be alone.
However, be careful not to make promise about things that are unpredictable, for instance: “Your first day of school will be perfect.” It could be discouraging when the actual school experience does not match the expectations.
6. Prepare a comfort object
Choose a comfort object for your child to bring to school. It can be a favourite toy, a handkerchief or a family photo that gives your child a sense of security and familiarity when they are in a new environment. Tell your child despite being separated from parents, the comfort object can remind them of home when they are at school.
Wish you and your child a smooth start to school!