Starting big school can be an overwhelming experience for any child because of the changes he may not be prepared for. Here are some ways to prepare your child for big school.
Having a well-thought-out schedule aids in the child’s transition to an international school in Manila because they help the child become accustomed to what will happen in his new schedule. Health experts also claim that children learn best with clearly established schedules and routines. Routines, more significantly, provide an opportunity to learn about order and sequence and the concept of time.
These things provide a structure and framework for children to prepare themselves mentally. Without these things, your child may find it difficult to adjust when entering a big school. Being by his side gives him the reassurance that there is nothing to fear and everything will be alright. The preparation stage provides plenty of opportunities to connect with your child You can calm the restlessness caused by the impending change of environment and new faces.
Preparing for the big school is also about helping your child develop his fine motor skills. These skills are developed through activities that use the small muscles in the hands and wrists. These muscles are responsible for making precise movements. Well-developed fine motor skills are essential for children because of the handwriting demands of big school.
This doesn’t mean forcing your child to write when he is not ready. Instead, this is where the role of creative playtime comes in. Engage him in creating crafts that involve coloring, pasting objects together, cutting paper using scissors, or molding shapes and letters using clay. For instance, you may hide tiny beads inside the clay and let him find them. You may also create an activity wall or a busy board with different panels for developing fine motor skills and letters, numbers, shape recognition, hand-eye coordination, and simple problem-solving.
It is also vital to give your children imaginative experiences, which is achieved through reading. Thus, make it a habit to read to your child daily, for instance, before bedtime. Nonetheless, every opportunity to promote reading is crucial. For example, you may use age-appropriate reading material in the car that you and your child can quickly grab and read while traveling. In fact, teachers themselves encourage parents to use picture books about starting school. These books are a fantastic way for your child to process his feelings about going to a big school for the first time.
Reading aloud to children enhances their vocabulary while also promoting a love for reading. Your child needs these to succeed in school. This is also one way to build creative thinking in children.
If you want your child to have a concrete grasp of what the school looks like, you might as well visit the school. It’s always a good idea to have a sneak peek of the school and how the daily activities are implemented before the actual first day of school. If you know who the teacher will be, introduce your child to her. Bring him to his classroom and allow him to observe or explore the room. Don’t forget to show him the playground.
As you show him the campus, make it a guided learning experience for him. For example, you may explain what will happen inside the classroom, in the playground, or canteen. You may also tell him what he can and cannot do while inside these premises and explain why. Playgrounds are enormous, and anything can happen there. Thus, it helps to tell your child how he may navigate the playground in different social situations that he will encounter. For example, if someone is using the slide and your child wants to use it, ask him what he should do or tell the other child. The same goes when someone is using the washroom. Bathroom etiquette is not always taught to children, but this is very important. Children are not only expected to use the bathroom independently but must also know how to interact with others during social situations. Therefore, you’re not only guiding his expectations but also teaching him how we should behave inside the classroom or school when it’s time.
Separation anxiety is normal—most children experience it significantly when they are being dropped off at school. However, you have to be prepared for this, too. Do a dry run and show him where you will drop him off and pick him up and at what times. This reassures him that you will arrive come the pickup time.
Be mindful of your reaction because children pick up anxious feelings. Parents feel nervous about leaving their children behind for the first time but don’t show it. Instead, show him how excited you are when it’s time to pick him up. Tell him you can’t wait for his stories about how his day went. While at it, don’t linger when saying goodbye because this makes separation even more difficult for your child. Say your goodbyes and leave.
Whatever you do, don’t overprepare. Don’t build up going to a big school too far ahead of time because this can overwhelm your little one. So prepare your child gradually. For instance, you may start by talking about his new school casually. Make him feel comfortable and excited about his first day of school. While there is no rule of thumb on when to start preparing your child, about two to three weeks is a good heads up.
Don’t forget to factor in downtime, especially in the first few days. The first week is a critical adjustment. If you overload schedules with after-school activities, your child will feel cramped. Remember, they are still processing the first few school days. If you’re going to ask him how his day was, do it at home and be very specific. Please don’t ask him how his day was because this question doesn’t allow exploring how it truly went. Instead, ask questions like ‘What was the most fun activity you did today?’ or ‘What did you enjoy learning about today?’ The key here is to engage and amplify, not simply ask.
Going to the big school is an adjustment for both the children and their parents. For the children, being removed from their family even for a while can be an overwhelming experience. For the parents, they can make the transition as smooth sailing as possible. Take heed of the ways to prepare your kids for the big school that were discussed above. These practical tips can help your kids cope with a range of emotions while minimizing anxiety and stress.