Starting Primary school may be a daunting experience for some children. The new routine, new people and new places may be too overwhelming for them and they may not take well to this new lifestyle. As parents, the best thing you can do is to equip them with the essential social skills to help them have a better understanding of what is to come. Here are some ways you can help your child start the school year on a good note:
Get them used to a routine
Help your kids adjust to the early mornings by waking them up earlier the week before. This method is most effective if you gradually work up to the 7am mark each day instead of waking them up at 7am everyday. For example, if they usually wake up at 10am, wake them up at 9.30am on Monday, 9am on Tuesday and so on. They will find it much easier to wake up on time for school by the time term starts and you will not have to brave any morning tantrums.
Additionally, you can help them adjust to the school curriculum and build their attention span by helping them follow a timetable the week before. Include activities at ‘Crafts’ and ‘Chores’ before ‘Recess,’ as well as ‘Play Time’ and ‘Reading’ after. You may also choose to gradually increase the duration of tasks throughout the week if your child has a short attention span.
Talk about what they can expect
Prepare your kids by talking them through basic school rules or procedures like listening to the teacher, asking for permission to use the bathroom and raising hands to ask or answer a question.
On top of that, you can also talk to them about how to make friends and start conversations or even share your own school experiences to show them how fun school can be. Sharing fun stories from your primary school days may help them worry less and even get them excited about starting school!
Train them to be independent
From getting to and from school to buying food at recess or even walking to the toilet, the primary school lifestyle may be rather overwhelming if they were to take it in all at once. Things will be much easier for them if they attempt these new experiences at their own pace.
You can get them started by letting them order and pay for their own food and drinks at the hawker centre. Give them a variety of coins and some notes, help them decide on what they should order, and watch from a small distance away as they order their food. This prepares them for the formidable recess crowds and helps them better articulate what they want.
Point out notable locations in the school like the General Office, toilets, canteen and pick-up point during the Orientation school tour. Tell them “this is where I will pick you up” or “this is where you should go if you are lost or if you lose your belongings,” to help them better remember the key locations.
If they have to take public transport by themselves, a dry-run will be incredibly helpful. You may walk them through the way to the school and let them navigate the way back home on the day of Orientation. Draw attention to the bus numbers, the bus stop code as well as street names if they have to walk a certain distance from the bus stop.
Supervise as they pack their own bags on the night before their first day of school. You may even choose to write out a list of essentials with them and paste it on a wall for them to refer to as they pack. They can also lay out their uniforms beside their school bag so that the morning will be a hassle-free, grab and go situation.