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Preparing Your Child for School

Preparing Your Child for School

Sending your child to school for the first time is learning for both you and your child. It will be for the first time that the child will be amongst unknown people and that too for a long period. It will be easier for your child to settle at pre-school if you’ve gradually got her used to being left with other caregivers, such as grandparents, relatives, maids, and friends. Leaving her for short periods and then gradually building it up until your child is happy to be left without you will make it easier for her and reduce the separation anxiety.

Visit the pre-school You can involve your child in the preparation process by asking her to be with you while you arrange for her school supplies. She can accompany you on your first visit to the school, which would enable you to understand how she responds to the environment and watches how the caregivers, teachers and the support staff (ayahs) interact with her.” Reassure her, talk positively about the school, all the fun activities such as playing outside in the park, painting pictures, playing with sand and water, singing songs, and building with blocks that go on, the other children and the staff.

Potty training Teaching a few self-help skills will help the child to be more self-sufficient. Some parents are anxious about potty training. However, all pre-school staff is prepared for occasional accidents and won’t expect children to ask every time they need the toilet – they’ll get plenty of gentle reminders. Pack spare pants and a change of clothes in your child’s bag just in case and tell him that no-one will be angry if they do have an accident.

Feeding themselves Although it is healthy to start with a breakfast, avoid forcing the child to have a heavy breakfast. Pack something which your child likes and is easy to eat and is not messy. Help her practice eating at home on her own to enable her to be more independent. Make sure you tell the school staff about any food allergies or intolerances.

On the first day Your child may not be prepared for you to just drop her off and leave on the first day, so be prepared to hang around until she’s settled. Tell her honestly when you will be back instead of fooling her off with false statements such as “Mummy’s just going to the washroom” when you make your exit. Tell her you’ll be back after lunch/drink and biscuit me/story time. In most cases, your child will be enjoying their exciting new experience. You could still leave your number with the staff so that if required, you can be contacted.

Communicate and Answer Questions : The unknown aspects regarding kindergarten trigger anxiety in many children. This is especially true if your child has never attended school before. Don’t minimize your child’s fears by using phrases such as, “You shouldn’t be scared about starting school,” or “pre school is fun and easy!” Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings and thank her for being honest with you.

Help Your Child Make Friends :If you know of other children who will be attending kindergarten at the same school, you may consider setting up a playdate in the days or weeks leading up to the first day. This will give your child a sense of comraderie and ensure that each of them sees some familiar faces on the first day. Perhaps you can even arrange to meet before school on the first day and go into the classroom or building together.

Additionally, you could also plan an informal gathering (perhaps at the park) for classmates and parents sometime during the first couple of weekends after school has started. This will help break the ice a bit more in an informal, non-school setting where kids feel more relaxed. It will also help you get acquainted with other parents—something that comes in handy later when kids start asking for playdates in other people’s homes.

Stay Positive :As a parent, you are likely dealing with a wide range of emotions as your child prepares to begin play school. Even if you are feeling sad at the thought of your baby growing up, do your best to project a happy, positive attitude about school to your child.Your tears might be because of your little one’s accomplishments as you are talking about school, but your child can interpret this as sadness. Be sure to remain upbeat and excited as you remind your child about all of the wonderful things she will get to experience as a kindergarten student.

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