As the parent of a first-timer at school, you probably have apprehensions of how to get her started on this journey of learning. Here are some tips to ensure your child starts school on a good note.
By Hannah S Mathew
“In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education…it’s like a precious gift. It’s like a diamond.” – Malala Yousafzai
Your child’s school is a place, where based on her experiences, your child's character is moulded and she learns how to take decisions independently. This is the place where she learns new skills and understands how to behave in social settings.
In fact, how you prepare your little one for her first day at school involves important decisions. The way in which you both approach this turning-point in her life can make or break her concept of school as a wholesome place for her to learn and be nurtured.
While preparing your little genius for school, you should keep these points in mind.
1. Get her set on a routine
A child looks forward to routines as it gives him a consistent framework within which to achieve his milestones. Develop a morning routine and a bedtime action plan before he falls asleep. Discuss and chart out these routines with his inputs. This will get him used to the idea of a routine and he won’t be overwhelmed when he joins school.
2. Help him be aware
Arm yourself with all the know-how you need and tell your child about all the interesting aspects of the school. Attend the school’s orientation programmes, read relevant literature, check out the reviews from parents on the school’s website and be well-informed of opportunities for parents to involve in school activities. Socialise with other parents who have children in the same class or travel by the same bus and arrange for some together-time for the children. Having a friend in the class or bus can increase his confidence.
3. Help her build the right attitude
Begin with exhibiting the kind of attitude that you want your child to have. Fill your everyday talk with positive and joy-filled words. Have an upbeat attitude toward life in general, not just school. Observe her outlook on school. Does she use more positive or negative words? Is she worried or excited? Are her expectations real or far-fetched? Gently correct her by setting an example. Also, ask leading and open-ended questions to get her to discuss her views on school.
4. Ask her to talk to those who know
Encourage chats about school with your child’s older siblings and friends who have started school a year ahead of her. Direct the conversation to include topics like play time, lunch time, learning and classroom behaviour. Make sure to mention that it is okay to be nervous about school. If you know her teacher’s name, include it in your day-to-day conversations. Try to visit the school and her teacher after school hours for her to get a feel of the school environment.
5. Tell him he is not alone
Tell your child that going to school is a natural progression and involve your family in familiarising him with the concept. Get family members to read him stories about going to school, playing games that are related to school and encouraging him to talk about school, whenever he wants.
6. Get her involved in role-play
Your child’s imagination can help her to adapt, think critically, and express herself better. Role-play games where both of you take turns playing the school teacher, the school bus driver or even the student will help her think about school constructively. Construct realistic and silly situations for the role-play.
7. Help him think for himself
Encourage your child to think independently. Let him choose his clothes from two or three options that you have already planned for him to wear. Within reason, allow him to find a school bag of his choice. He can also choose his stationery, shoes or lunch box.
8. Teach her the value of time
Teach your child the importance of sticking to a time schedule, wherever possible. Whether it’s having a snack or a shower, teach her not to take too long in doing a task as it can lead to problems later. Teaching her to respect time will improve her performance at school and help build her character.
The first day at school is the first step for your child to become a lifelong learner. So, prep your child for it and enjoy this great phase in her life together.
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Hannah S Mathew