Preparing Your Child for School
Starting school for the first time can be a frightening experience for young children. They may experience mixed emotions including excitement, anxiety, fear and feeling proud! Some children may feel some stress.
However, parents can do a great deal to prepare their child for school.
First, a few weeks before starting drive or walk to the school as many days as possible so your child gets used to arriving and leaving the school. You may be able to go inside and walk around, if it is possible to take the opportunity so your child becomes familiar with the layout, feel and general environment of the school.
first day of school
Prepare your child by talking positively about the upcoming start of school but sharing that it is normal to have different emotions. One of the best ways to do this is through bibliotherapy.
By using story books about starting a new school your child can relate to the characters and discussion can easily be started on the topic.
Some children will feel more confident talking about how the character in the book may be feeling than how they themselves are feeling. A good resource to learn more and find suitable books is through this link to our bibliotherapy and the response to literature.
Ask the teacher if there is an area in the classroom to post a picture of the family or to place an object the child relates to from home. Many early childhood teachers set up these types of activities in the classroom to help settle children.
When you get to school, say a proper goodbye to your child. Children feel upset when they suddenly find mum or dad is gone. If your child is experiencing some separation anxiety then try to leave in short bursts. For example, explain to your child you will be away for 15 minutes and then will come back. Extend the time a little each time. This will help your child to learn that you are coming back and adjust to being apart.
Encourage your child to express his/her emotions about the start of school.
After school reflect with your child. What went well and what didn't go so well. More
EI activities to develop self-reflection can be found here.