Getting your child ready for school can be a daunting task for all parents. After the long discussion and tough decision of which school is suitable for your child, preparing him or her for the first day at school is another obstacle to hurdle over. Getting them to wake up early, making sure they don’t cry when you leave and other worries are all common to have before your child’s first day, because they almost always cause problems for parents.
In this article we are aiming to help parents whose children are moving on into primary school from kindergarten, embarking on their journey of education. Let us see if we can help you with some tips before your child’s new milestone!
- Managing Expectations
Primary school is going to be vastly different from kindergarten. There will be longer hours, more complex knowledge to be learnt, systematic timetables that may involve moving around the school, among other changes that your child should know and be prepared for. As such, it would be good for you as parents to educate your child about what to expect, before getting educated by his or her new school!
You should let your little one know about the subjects he will be learning, about basic discipline that needs to be observed in school, asking for permission and other important things to note. The child should understand clearly that class time is for learning as much as they can, instead of talking to and playing with their friends, which are huge distractions for the child as well as their friends.
By understanding and being aware of their purpose of going to school, your child will be more ready for the changes in their new schools.
2. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Our bodies have body clocks that helps to regulate our actions throughout the 24-hour day, such as eating and sleeping. It can be reset even after it becomes used to a certain schedule. Getting your child to wake up at a certain time daily can help to set his or her body clock to be more accustomed to an earlier waking time, helping them to transition into waking up for school if they start their lessons in the morning.
A few weeks before school starts, it will be a good idea to adjust your child’s sleep-wake cycle to make sure they are able to wake up earlier to prepare for school. Waking up early also has its share of benefits, including helping with concentration later in the day, better sleep at night, and giving you more time to spend with your child before school begins.
Waking up early should be corresponded with sleeping early. It will help your child get sufficient rest in order to wake up early, and also make sure the sleep-wake cycle is healthy in your child.
3. Creating A Daily Checklist
School life is going to be more hectic, with homework and tests coming in. Your child will have to learn how to organise their hours well, and you can help them in this process by creating a list or timetable for your child’s after school hours.
After school, it would be a good idea to give your child a short nap to recharge his or her energy, which probably would be quite low given how early they need to get up for school. After the nap, the schedule could designate a time period for finishing up any homework and studying for any tests, or any other school related tasks there may be for the child. It is important that you include a reasonable number of breaks for your child in order not to tire them out. We should try to minimise the stress we are putting on the young child, as it might be detrimental to their health. Try to also give them a latest time for going to bed in order to keep their sleep-wake cycle healthy, as the workload should be rather manageable at this stage, accompanied with occasional parental assistance.
Before each day ends, a checklist of tasks or goals that should be achieved could be laid out for the child to complete, making sure he or she has completed their tasks and is ready for a new day when they wake up. It could include things such as whether they have finished their work and whether they have packed their bags for tomorrow.
4. Designated Study Area
There are many different areas at home which a child can study at, and many of them may not be the most conducive. For example, your child can easily study on the sofa in your living room, in front of the television. The comfort of the sofa and the temptation to watch whatever is on the television will only deter them from having a fruitful and productive work session. As such, it would be a great idea to get your child a conducive study area with a study table and a proper chair.
The best time to set up such a space would be before school starts, in order to facilitate the delivery and shopping time. Most importantly, it would allow your child to think about his ideal study space. If you let your child pick some of the items to be placed at their study area, it would make them more willing to use that area to its fullest, given the area is made up of the items he or she likes. It may also be a good idea to change the appearance of the area slightly once in a while to keep the area fresh and exciting for the child.
A good idea for an extra item to add to your child’s study table is a study lamp. It reduces the strain put on our eyes and allows your child to see his or her work clearly, benefitting their eyes in the long run.
5. Trial Run & Orientation
You might think this is redundant because this is going to be a wasted trip and it is impossible to get lost in such a small country like Singapore right? Well, there are a few purposes of this trip.
Finding out how long it takes for you to get to school can prevent you from being late on the first day of school or in the future, also allowing you to take precautions on the school run, such as leaving earlier on the first week of school. You can also discover other routes to school that may take a shorter time or are less congested than the one you usually take on the school run, in the event that there is a traffic jam or other unforeseen incidents.
You can also get your child familiarised with the route, in the event they have to make their way to school or home alone.
6. Safety & Defence
Being at school would mean that your child would have to learn how to take care of themselves. It would be a good idea to teach them about some basic knowledge on how to protect themselves in different situations.
For example, bullying is still prevalent in schools despite the efforts made to prevent it from happening. You should teach your child to be brave and stand up towards bullying. If they get bullied, they should never keep it to themselves. They must tell their teachers or parents at the soonest possible time, in order to resolve the problem and let the bully receive due punishment.
Other important things you could teach you child include road safety, not going out of school on their own, ignoring strangers, and other relevant information your child may need to know in different situations
7. Be Wth them On Their First Day
Most primary school orientations allow parents to accompany their child on their first day of school or before school starts, and it would be a great idea for you to do so. Visiting the school can help you know more and educate your child about the campus, allowing them to have an easier time at adapting in school and making their way around.
It is also likely that you can meet other parents whose children are from the same class, and you as parents could make some friends and perhaps a communication channel to contact each other for any questions or updates from school. You could also introduce your children to each other, so that they have some companions to help them get through the first few days of school.
8. Dollar & Sense
In primary school, it is likely your child will need to purchase food on his or her own, from the different stalls in the school canteen. In kindergarten, it is normal that food is provided to your child during the different mealtimes. In primary school, if you don’t pack food for your little one, he or she would have to order and pay for food from the different stalls in school. Apart from needing to carry the food carefully to the tables, they would also need to know how much to pay the vendors.
You can familiarise your child with the values of the different coins and notes in order for them to pay correctly and also prevent cases of wrongly given change. A good idea is testing your child by getting them to pay you an amount that you name, or even trying to pay for food at a food court if you visit one!
9. Celebrations and Encouragements
In this new journey, it is important as well that your child is fuelled on to do his or her best. As parents, you can be the one to replenish that fuel when needed. By celebrating some milestones, n matter how small they may be, will push your child to do better and keep going in school! Of course, there should be a limit to the praises and celebrations, in order to prevent the child from being spoilt. On their first few days in school, it would be good for you to praise them about things they are doing right, to get them to be more interested in school.
Apart from using rewards or celebrations as encouragement, parents can also use other methods such as encouraging words and hugs before and after school as forms of support!
We hope that these tips will help you get your child ready for their school journey! Ensuring that your child gets a good start to his or her school journey is similar to building a good foundation for their school journey to be built on, allowing them to look forward to going to school every day instead of dread it. How do you get your kids prepared for their first day at school? Share with us your tips on our Instagram and Facebook pages!