Are you getting ready to send your little one off to their first year of school? It can be a nerve-wracking time for both you and your little scholar, but with these five tips, you can help make the transition as smooth as possible.
By preparing them ahead of time and helping them build some important skills, they’ll be ready to take on the challenge! Helping your child feel prepared for the coming year and knowing what to expect can make the first days much more smooth, allowing the fun of starting school and meeting new friends to overshadow the nervousness of new experiences.
1. Talk to your child about what they can expect from their first year of school
Your child may not have any idea what a school day will look like for them, and much of the anxiety kids have before their first day boils down to that fear of the unknown. Tell your child in an upbeat and excited tone about the things they’ll do at school every day, from lunchtime to recess, and let them know what they can expect from their teachers and classmates in contrast to family members and other close figures. Having an idea of what their school day will look like, how many students may be in their classroom, and whether they’ll be eating food from home or a school lunch can help them feel more confident and look forward to new experiences.
2. Help them get organized and ready for the school year ahead
Helping your child prepare for the school year goes beyond making sure they FEEL prepared. Does your child know basic emergency information, like their own name and your phone number? Are they able to write their name consistently and count to 10?
On another note, one of the best things you can do to help your child succeed is to ensure that they’re getting enough sleep for their brain to function well! Young children NEED eight hours of sleep minimum each night to be their best selves. A child who is well-rested is much more likely to respond well to new experiences that might otherwise seem too frustrating or overwhelming in the wrong frame of mind.
3. Encourage them to make friends and get involved in extracurricular activities
Most kids are naturals when it comes to making friends, but there may be small speedbumps along the way, and a new school setting changes the way kids interact! Encourage socialization by arranging playdates with existing childhood or pre-school friends, or enrolling in activities that coincide with your child’s after-school interests and existing friendships. Group activities and team sports are a great way to let your child explore their interests while forging new social connections and skills. That means this may be the time to nudge your child in the direction of some of their interests over others. For example, if they already have great coordination but lack social skills, it might not be the year to choose an individualistic activity like tennis over something more cooperation-based, like soccer.
This is a great time to sign your child up for our Creative Workshops as well because the small group sizes allow for close interaction and socializing between the kiddos involved, with oversight from a certified instructor!
4. Prepare them for homework and studying
Help your child feel ready to tackle homework (if they have it) by setting up a homework station where all their school supplies will be close-at-hand, without nearby distractions. Bonus points if it’s close enough to you for your little one to share their successes with you and call you over when they need help (which is likely to be frequent at first while they build confidence in their own answers and knowledge). Don’t expect your young child to be able to tackle their homework and the task of organizing themselves all alone… they’re likely to need your help remembering to get their homework done on time and staying focused and motivated at first, especially if sitting down to learn is a new concept for them that they’re still adjusting to during the school day. If your child is having trouble focusing to the end of their work, don’t be afraid to take a pause, jump around, have a dance party, or whatever is needed to burn off that extra energy so your child can dedicate their attention to the task at hand.
5. Discuss with them any concerns you have about their first year of school
It’s okay to share with your child that you’re nervous about them starting school too! They’re growing up, and while you couldn’t be more proud, it’s also bittersweet anytime your little one takes another step out of the nest. Sharing your feelings about this big occasion with your child can help them understand that it’s normal to feel nervous and even scared about new experiences, no matter how positive they are. Starting your first year of school is so exciting, but you were probably scared too as a child on your first day! You know your child best, and you probably know whether they’d appreciate hearing that you felt the same way at their age but ended up loving school. Even if school wasn’t your favorite stage of life, you can certainly find something to share with your child to connect with their experience and get them excited. Did your favorite teacher encourage you in a future career? Were you the King of the Monkey Bars on the playground? Were you the class clown or a quiet and studious kid? We guarantee you that hearing about your own positive school experiences will help you and your child connect and share excitement for the coming year.
Books and TV Shows About Kids Starting School
Your child’s favorite TV and book characters have certainly started their first day of school too! This would be a great time to help your child develop excitement and visualize their school year by watching their favorite characters go through the same experience alongside them.
Conclusion paragraph: We hope that these five tips have helped you feel better equipped to help your child prepare for their first year of school. Remember, it’s important to stay positive and optimistic yourself – if you project a confident attitude, they are more likely to follow suit! Be sure to keep checking our blog for more helpful advice on everything from homework tips to choosing the right after-school activities. And finally, we wish you good luck and lots of fun as your little one takes this exciting next step in their education!