7 Practical Steps to Helping Children Adjust to School
- Jan 27, 2016
Image By: Brad Flickinger
Most of us remember our first day at school – or, our first day at a new school at the place to where we had shifted. Or, the first day at a new class in school; to which we had been promoted.
The mixed feeling of pride, expectations and trepidation is beyond expression, right?
Yes. And then, time advanced. We got used to the ‘new school, new class, new I’ feeling and settled in.
That was a long time ago.
Time we helped our children adjust to school, now.And since times have advanced and changed a lot, let us discuss in details, how we can help our children adjust to schools in present times – shall we?
Help Children Look Forward To Education
When I was about three years old, my mother would start telling me a very interesting story, and then stop quite close to its conclusion. She would suddenly remember some urgent work, and have to suspend the tale midway. I would follow her around the whole house, waiting for her to complete the story. She would then, excitedly, inform me, “When you go to SCHOOL you can learn how to READ! Then you will not have to wait for ANYONE to complete any story for you. You will be able to READ them from every kind of BOOK you like at your school LIBRARY! Your TEACHERS will help you LEARN everything you NEED to, so that you KNOW all you WANT to know…!” I would listen to Ma, wide-eyed, and wonder when my wonder-days at school would begin.
We need our children to look forward to education.
Visit the New School Before the Children Do
This is necessary, because you need to see where you are taking your child to spend most of his/her time at, first. Is it the kind of ambiance conducive to your child’s particular needs? Does this seem like the school your child has been dreaming of?
- On which floor is your child’s class? Can students use elevators?
- How safe do the premises come across as?
- How are the children seated?
- Where are the restrooms?
- What do the children usually do, during recess-time?
- What is the atmosphere like, at the canteen?
- How well-behaved, healthy and happy do the students express themselves to be?
- What are the First Aid measures followed in the school?
- What are the security measures practised?
These are some of the factors that we need to check out, before enrolling our children into a certain school. We do not want our children to feel anxious or dismayed the moment they walk into a new place – right? It is our duty to check what our children might feel about and in it, first.
Image By: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
Take the Children Around the School
Seek the permission of the school authorities and see if parents are allowed to take prospective students around the school, just to familiarize themselves and their children with the place.
This gives both parents and children an added feeling of bonding.
Children see how much their parents care. They also feel wonderful about the fact that when they excitedly tell their parents, “The Principal noticed me near the pillar next to the library, and patted my back when I wished him ‘Good afternoon’,” their parents know exactly which pillar is being mentioned and can actually visualize the scene exactly the way it might have been: since they know both the principal, and the school premises.
Children feel extremely secure when they are sure their parents know everything and everyone important to them.
Getting adjusted to a new school becomes simpler, if parents try to feel the feeling, along with their children.
Give Children Relevant Advice
Be it a new school for our children, or a new class, we need to give them the necessary advice before they join the same.
- They have to be prepared for both major and minor changes. As much in school, as in life.
- They should obey the rules that have been specifically set by the school authorities, for all to know.
- It could be unsafe or tricky to follow so-called ‘rules’ or ‘norms’ set or offered by certain students, as that could be unauthorized, or even a prank played on newcomers! It is always best to cross-check such things with a teacher or the Principal, before believing or following them.
- Correct behavior, always. Our children should always be at their best and most correct behavior, no matter who or what they encounter, at school. It could be a bully, or a sudden, unexpected situation. Whatever it is, our children’s deportment should be faultless.
- In case of seeing or suffering a bully, children should report the matter to school authorities and parents and never keep quiet about it.
- Any problem has to be discussed with either a teacher or a parent, first.
Add Some Fun Element
Our children are going to stay away from us for long hours. Why not keep reminding them of how much we love and think of them?
We could give them little surprises, like some ‘innovative tiffin’! Give them their favorite food; or present their food in such a beautiful manner that they feel proud to show, share and have it!
Image By: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ehmeelu/
We can also surprise them by leaving a little treat for them in their school bag; something that they did not expect. Nothing major: maybe a candy, a hand-written note, or even the pencil-box they were looking at longingly, the other day.
Such gestures and things can take a lot of stress away from the minds of children, and give them the courage and confidence to face the world.
Get to Know Your Children’s Teachers
In today’s advanced-technology age, a lot is possible. Some teachers can even text parents regarding the academic progress of their children, or send other important information to them.
Get to know your children’s teachers. This will help your child adjust better to school – whether it is a new school, or a new class. It gives them a feeling of reassurance to have their parents interact with their teachers. They feel secure in the thought that any school-related matter can be discussed easily by their parents with their teachers, and these extremely important people of their lives know each other well.
Prepare Your Children Well
Is the child prepared for school? How can he/she adjust there, otherwise?
- Does the child know what to expect at school, and what will be expected of him/her?
- Does the child have any idea of the subjects or lessons to face?
- Is the school uniform ready?
- Are the books, laptop, tiffin-carrier etc. ready?
- Has the child practised waking up in time for school?
- How about school discipline, manners, etiquette, hygiene?
- How much does the child know about following set routines?
- Is the child at ease with the concept of ‘making friends’?
- Does the child know the basic school-playground games?
- Is the child feeling happy and confident about going to school?
We need to prepare our children regarding such vital aspects of school-life, and more, before they enter it.
In certain situations, we could even have a tutor help our children catch up with or understand their lessons quicker and easier.
This seems especially helpful when we move from one country, state or town to another, in mid-academic year. Our children might then have to learn new languages, along with other new things! In such cases, it helps a child adjust to school better, if there is a teacher to guide him/her, beyond school hours, as well.
The better prepared our children are for school, the easier can they adjust to it.
Last but not the least, we have to assure our children that we are always there for them.
We need to make an effort to know their friends, and other students they interact with regularly, at school.
Our children must be convinced about the matter that they need not fear or worry about anything, as long as they are in the right and they let us know what exactly is going on in their lives.
Adjusting to school, or life, would be so simple for children, then.
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