Starting school —especially preschool— is a big step for a child. To help ensure a smooth and pleasant transition, parents can play an essential role by helping their kids prepare. Here are some strategies to adopt. You can also find out more about preschool in Singapore at https://ourfirststeps.com.sg/macpherson/.
Yes, the point of this whole article is how to prepare for your child for school, but you don’t want to be overly anxious and prepare too soon. Some parents start talking about school months before school starts to prep their kids, but by the time school actually comes around, the child might feel overwhelmed, like this is a huge event. A tip is to talk about preschool in a casual and excitable manner about 2 to 3 weeks before class starts. For instance, if you drive by the school, you can say something like, “there’s your school, and you’ll get to play on that big blue slide!” This gives your child something to anticipate.
Establish a schedule
Setting a daily schedule ahead of time can help ease your child’s transition to a more structured environment. Besides, following and setting up a routine provides opportunities for your child to learn skills like time management and decision making. Children learn best when there are established daily schedules and routines. This also helps them prepare mentally for what’s to come ahead. As such, without some structure or consistent schedule at home, children likely will experience difficulty adjusting to school when the time comes.
As a tip, try establishing routines similar to school. For example, if nap time is at 2pm, you’ll probably want to schedule nap time around that timing too — which brings me to my next point.
Have morning and bedtime routines
If done appropriately and consistently, routines give children a sense of belonging and assurance. For parents, routines will also provide several opportunities for you to bond and connect with your child — so take this chance to be as available and responsible to your child’s needs. Establish things like an early morning routine — this can include eating breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth and assembling personal items. Young children pretty much love a visual chart with the tasks they have on hand for the day. Every time a task is done, tick it off the list and shower some praise. Some schools actually have similar daily schedules.
Bedtime means sleeping by a certain time. This will be especially beneficial once school starts. A comfortable bedtime routine can include reading a book, changing into pyjamas and tucking into bed.
Prepare little tasks for motor skills
While preschool can help develop a child’s fine motor skills, it would be helpful as a parent to play your part ahead of time. Many occupational therapists suggest including in activities that involve some art and craft, like colouring and glueing. Tasks like forming shapes and letters help prepare your child for future handwriting lessons at school, and cutting things like play-doh with scissors teaches your child how to use scissors properly.
Work on self-help skills
Attending preschool marks a huge leap in independence. Help your little one master basic self-help skills like using the toilet, using utensils and putting socks and shoes on. Use this time to also encourage your child to ask questions whenever they need help, or even offer help when they see another student having difficulty.
Signs your child isn’t adjusting well to school
Crying every time they reach school
If your little one cries consistently every time they’re dropped off at school, it’s a huge sign they aren’t happy being there. It’s common to cry in the beginning, but if it drags for 2 to 3 months, you might want to consider switching to another school in the neighbourhood.
Reluctant to go in
Reluctance to leave the house for school is another huge sign that a child does not want to go to school. This may be normal in the beginning, when the child is still adjusting to their new schedule and environment. But if the issue continues, it could be the child’s way of communicating that they are unhappy in school.
If your child starts developing habits like biting their nails or scratching their skin after starting daycare, you should step in immediately. When not solved in time, this habit can carry over to adulthood and manifest whenever they feel stressed or upset about something.
Refuse to eat in school
In general, children tend to eat well and don’t refuse meals unless they are unwell or unhappy. School might be intimidating for some, especially if your kid is shy, so he/she might feel a little uncomfortable eating initially. But if refusing to eat becomes a habit, it’s time to step in and find out what’s the problem, because there’s definitely something else at hand.
First Steps Preschool @ Macpherson
47 Kallang Pudding Road #01-01