"Providing you with tips and expert advice on helping your child get ready for Big School"
The day has finally come for your little toddler to leave behind the nursery steps and foray into big school. It is definitely an adjustment for both parent and child. Leaving the safety net of being mollycoddled and looked after, the child now faces some of the responsibility on his own.
Each year in the big school offers a different set of challenges. As we slowly let go, we must also build our children's confidence so that they can take on the required responsibilities. It has to be gradual process rather and not abrupt. For if it is not done properly, the child will be challenged emotionally; his confidence will be lost and self-doubt will creep in.
In conversation with Ms. Kahandaliyanage, Consultant Education and Behaviour Therapist, she recommended that parents keep the following in mind during the transition:
1. Remember your child needs to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally for the transition.
2. Make a social story about your child going to big school.
3. What will he/she be doing in school?
4. Why will he/she need to go to big school?
5. Reassure your child that you know that he/she is going to have fun in school.
6. Make sure you are emotionally prepared for your child's transition. If you feel doubtful, then your child will feel it.
7. Have a structure and a routine so that the child will have time to share his/her experiences and give your child opportunities to demonstrate the skills learnt at school.
8. Encourage your child to talk to you about feelings and about friends.
Any sort of change in the child's routine, even if they are just moving from nursery into big school in the same schooling establishment, is a change. There’ll be new teachers, rules and modes of accepted behaviour.
For a child, there will be immediate feelings of fear and apprehension, making him/her shut down and not give his/her full potential when required.
Keeping Mrs. Kahandaliyanage's advice in mind, we should, rather than react to the situation, be proactive in not giving rise to issues which could snowball into a problem.
|Child's behaviour||Do not||Do|
|Complains about the teacher and is apprehensive about talking to her.||Do not dismiss the behaviour as nonsense and say they have to be nice to their teacher.||Children have to bond with their teachers. He/she will be the only adult that they will spend a great deal of their day with. Meet the teacher with the child. Explain the situation. The teacher might need to spend some time with the child until trust is built.|
|Child is anxious, also develops a stomach ache or feels ill before school.||You are rushed for work, your immediate response is to ignore and drag the child to school.||Instead, take a few minutes and talk to the child. Understand they are sad to be away, but all of us have things to do during the day. Reassure them that you will be at the school gates waiting. Remind them of a lesson that they like is happening today.|
|Child is teary-eyed every time you drop them off at school. Clings on to you and does not want you to leave.||Do not get worried and exasperated and think no solution is in sight.||Children at this age will still suffer a certain amount of separation anxiety. Reassure them you will be waiting for them, maybe give them a watch to count the hours down or even a picture of you that they can hold on to during the day.|
Written by Mayuri Jayasinghe based on an interview with Malathi Kahandaliyanage, Consultation Education and Behaviour Therapist