Feet tapping, heart racing, hands fidgeting, and tummy all churning. The thought of the first day of school often comes with both excitement and fear. Whether it’s from K1 moving on to K2, K3 to Grade 1, or from Primary to Junior School, these grade transitions come with opportunities, expectations, and above all, the unknowns.
Parents and caregivers, you may have your fair share of mixed feelings. Whether it’s a little bit of worry paired with a great deal of excitement or depending on how the last school experience was for your child, these feelings may vary in intensity.
At SPH, we always partner with parents to give the most valuable learning experiences for our students. So, let’s prepare them for the upcoming school year together through the 4Bs!
Buckle Up for a New Routine
Coming out of what may have been a sporadic holiday schedule and into a structured routine may require multiple discussions, encouragement, reminder, and attempts. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow the kids get it, but creating a post-holiday schedule can be a saving grace for everyone.
You can utilize the fridge to post a fun new back-to-school calendar, award stickers to your younger kids, or begin a trial simulation. As simple as packing their backpacks the night before, organizing their notebooks, or getting up at 6 AM will do.
Once a routine is in place, aim for a consistent implementation at least 1 week prior to school starting. This readjusting of routine and schedule can also help lower the child’s anxiety or apprehension, as it gives predictability, expectations, and security.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Before the first day of school, reassure them of who they are, how valued they are regardless of how the year will unfold, and speak words of encouragement. Remind them of the new opportunities ahead and to focus on the new and hopeful things, instead of the things they dreaded in the past.
Another helpful way is to name their fears. In the safe presence of a parent or caregiver, naming what they are afraid of allows them to get their fears and worst-case scenarios out of their heads and out in the open. Narrating a story about going to school and what the new routine looks like could also be a fun way of preparing them. Don’t be shy to bust out in rhymes or tunes as you go along to it!
Once school has begun, continue to be their safe space through communication. Ask questions about their day, their new classmates, or their teachers. Show an interest in their school life and let them know that you will be there to support them both academically and socially.
As you know your child best, supporting your child can also look like communicating with them about their feelings and emotions. Normalize their experiences of worry or nerves by reassuring them that what they are feeling is common. Feelings are God-given and they are to guide us, not control or overcome us.
Throughout their academic journey, be on the lookout for any signs of stress, which may be realized through behaviors such as becoming more clingy than usual, attempting to avoid going to school, or appearing restless each time it’s a school day.
Equipping them with a high dose of godly confidence will be crucial for their survival and enjoyment in school. One way to build confidence is by setting goals and identifying areas of improvement over time. This looks like having casual yet engaged discussions about what they want to achieve this academic year and if they are aware of any areas requiring improvement.
Finally, involving your child in day-to-day preparation for school further serves as a ground on which confidence will bloom, as it gives them a sense of independence, ownership, and responsibility. Small tasks such as preparing their own lunch box, packing their school bags, and making sure their uniform is clean and ready are a few of many examples, you can be creative with it!
Now you and your child are ready to tackle this school year, and we can’t wait to welcome you back to school!