Is your child nervous about going to school? Does he or she cry at the mention of “big school”? Although starting school can be exciting, it can also be a little frightening for young children. So, what can you do to ease your child’s fear of starting school?
Acknowledge your child’s fears
A few weeks before school starts begin to talk to your child about school. Talk to them about their feelings, and acknowledge their fears. Ask them why they are scared. Allow them to explain their reasons. Tell your child that it is okay to be scared, and reassure them that you are there for them.
Become familiar with the school
One way to help ease your child’s anxieties to help them become familiar with the school. Arrange for you and your child to tour the school. If you know where your child’s room will be, walk them to the room and let them look inside. Be sure that they know where the office is, where the bathrooms are, and how to find their room.
Meet the teacher
Most schools host an Open House. Make it a point to take your child to meet their new teacher. This is the time to give the teacher valuable information about your child and to discuss the teacher’s expectations and goals for the upcoming year. Meeting the teacher before school starts will help to relieve some of your child’s anxiety.
Meet school personnel
In addition to meeting the teacher, you should also introduce your child to other school personnel. Introduce your child to the principal, the secretary, school nurse, and other members of the school staff. If your child will ride a bus to school, it will also help to introduce your child to the bus driver. If you can, make seating arrangements in advance.
Get in the learning habit
Help your child get use to doing school work and having structured time. Begin working with them a few weeks before school starts. Have them practice using workbooks or simply construct quick lessons yourself. This doesn’t have to be something elaborate or that takes up a lot of time. Give them assignments that are age-appropriate.
Establish a routine
Now is the time to establish a school day routine. Have a set time for homework, play time, and bedtime. Select a quiet place for completing homework assignments and make sure that your child knows where that place is. Bedtime should be at the same time every night. This will help you and your child establish a bedtime routine, decrease bedtime drama, and ensure that your child gets the necessary amount of sleep.
Introduce your child to reading
If you have not already been reading to your child, now is a great time to start. Begin reading to them on a daily basis. This will not only help to relieve anxiety about school, but it will also help to foster a love of reading. And, remember many schools expect your child to be reading by the end of their kindergarten year.
Discuss expected behavior
Discuss behavior with your child. Explain to them the appropriate behavior for school. They should know that they have to follow directions, listen to the teacher, and stay in their assigned place.
Starting school can be scary for young children. Help to ease their anxiety. Talk to them about their fears. Help them to familiarize themselves with the school and school personnel. Discuss expected behavior and establish a constant routine before school starts.