One of the testing grounds of parenthood is that time when your kid will finally start school. Starting school can be a bit of a scary thought. Some images spring to mind, like throwing tantrums and teary eyes. Parents have to understand that some behavioral problems may arise, but all of it rooted in anxiety. The changes in their routine, being separated from parents for a while, and meeting other people makes them anxious. Entering their first day of school is an event as major as finishing college. Parents need to prepare their kids to alleviate negative feelings about going to school and help them to be at ease when that day comes. Not only that, after the first day of school matters, too.
Using stuffed toys, parents can simulate a situation in which Barry Bunny has to go to Rabbit School or that Eddy, the elephant, needs to go to work. It enforces an understanding that you will have to leave her in the care of the school but with an assurance of coming back. Give them activities that happen in preschool to prepare them for motor skills such as cutting and pasting.
Visit the school
Before the school year starts, tour the school with your child as often as possible. Have them met the teacher as well to get on a familiar level. Allow them to sit anywhere and look at the toys that they will play with and the books that they will read. Going around the school can open the possibility of meeting other parents to organize playdates.
There’s no great way to make your child socialize other than playdates. In doing this, children won’t have the anxiety to be with other children. It would be better if the playmates are attending the same school to make the children build a comfortable level before going to school. So, when they eventually attend school, seeing a friendly face eases them.
Choose books with contents about schools and studying. Since most children are visual learners, seeing colorful depictions of schools and other children can be their gateway in knowing what’s happening in a school.
Introduce a new routine
A reason why some children don’t want to go to school is that they will have to give up their comfortable routines of playing all day and waking up whenever they want. Weeks or days before the school year opens, train your child to wake up early, shower, and have breakfast. In the morning, make them busy by singing, doing some crafts, and teaching. Expect that it is going to be tough, which might end up with tantrums and fights. It doesn’t have to be that way. Set up a reward system for waking up early and sleeping early. Don’t forcefully change their habits immediately. Toilet time is also included. Make sure that before attending school, your child has been potty trained to use the toilet independently.
Teach him or her how to count, write their name, or color a book. Nursery rhymes and videos are not excluded, so better turn off the TV or the iPad. Be gentle in teaching them. Don’t expect your kid to get it right immediately, or else the idea of going to school might scare him off.
When you finally have to leave your child, instruct him or her how you are going to pick him up. Change your goodbye phrases. Instead of saying ‘goodbye,’ say ‘see you later!’, ‘smell you later,’ or ‘tell me stories later, okay?’. Avoid disappearing so suddenly as it only escalates a child’s anxiety.
Not all children adjust to school at the same rate. Some are independent, and others are still clinging to you and their familiar environment. As long as it is safe and allowed, make him or her bring something from home. A stuffed toy, a rubber pencil, or a cute tumbler are safe objects to bring. If preschools have nap time, bring their small blanket.
Come back to school before the ring bells. It can build anxiety in a child when he sees his classmates being picked up by their parents and doesn’t see you around. To encourage them to go to school without you reminding them, reward them for just going to school. So, at the end of the day, they have something to look forward to.
Their first year of school is a crucial milestone in their life; therefore, the habits and routines that both of you have formed must be consistent.