Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How to Help Your Kid Adjust to School

Going to big school, or elementary school, is a major change for children. It often requires big adjustments on the part of both parents and child as it may often require dealing with a new environment – school, location, teachers and even classmates. Change is always inevitable so all we parents have to do is help our children adjust to the changes.

Children would need to have a smooth transition and parents can guide them through it.
1. You can begin by letting your child see and explore his new school before school starts. It would be better if he meets the key people in school too – the principal, the school doctor or school nurse and his class teacher/adviser.
2. Facilitate an avenue for your child to bond with other children. It may mean inviting kids for a play date or inviting fellow Moms for an ice cream after school.
3. Establish a goodbye routine and help make it easier. Your child, in the first few weeks of school, might get teary-eyed, anxious or even cry. Reassure her that you will be waiting for her at the end of the day and that he will be fine. If it is still happening after a few months, it might be better to ask for help and see if a teacher can help.
4. Try and make sure you arrive a few minutes early to pick your child from school. It will give him the reassurance that you are there, waiting for him.
5. Make it a habit to create a routine of early bedtimes and peaceful, unhurried mornings in your household. Kids who are well rested will have few tantrums and a calm morning routine will take the pressure off and keep anxieties at bay.

Anxiety is normal during the first few weeks. It can even affect the way your child thinks and feels, without them knowing they are suffering from it. Stomach aches, headaches, fatigue, aggressiveness, sadness and silence are general manifestations of anxiety. You can help them overcome it but talking with your child how he feels. It is easier said and done but encourage your child to talk about what happens in school, you can start by sharing your own experiences. Do not downplay his fears but reassure them that things will get better.

However, stay alert for any signs why your child is anxious and worried about school. Normally, kids adjust to school in a few weeks. But when their unhappiness is drawn out, it might indicate a more serious issue. He might be being bullied, has a hard time understanding lessons, cannot see or hear clearly, has a hard time making friends and feeling left out. Start by asking questions about how his day went and when it doesn’t draw him out, you can share your own positive school stories (“I cried for a week when Grandma left me at school during First Grade I had to go to the bathroom so many times! That’s when I met my best friend who was also crying, and things got better! I loved First Grade!).
If you still have a nagging fear or suspicion you cannot erase, it is time to call the teacher and relay your feelings.

As parents, we cannot keep changes from happening to our children’s lives. It is a constant thing people need to deal with all the time. We just need to make things easier for our children by providing a calm and reassuring presence and an easier transition for them.

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15 comments:

H2OBaby said...

My niece and nephew are already past this stage but I've read a few of the tips that will be helpful in some other ways. Thanks for sharing!

Eds said...

My son Aj hasn't attended school yet but as early as now I'm a bit worried about him being bullied when he enters school.

We're planning to enroll him to a nursery class this year and I'm glad you posted this article at least by now I already have some ideas about checking him out everyday after school. :)

walkonred said...

great post sis! thanks for sharing...

Aggie said...

My kid started nursery just this school year and all the anxiety signs you mentioned happened. Thankfully everything got better!

Faye said...

thanks for sharing sis . will send the link to my mommy friends :)

Princess Vien said...

I'm sure this is exactly what you did with your daughter. This will be a great help for other parents as well. Nice post! :)

Race said...

You're right about being there few minutes early when we pick them because I experienced it myself when my little boy entered grade school last June. I saw his eyes looking out for me and when he saw me his eyes lit up and he smiled at me.

Mich said...

Thanks for sharing a couple of tips sis :) I need these tips when my little girl goes to the big school this coming school year :)

Admin said...

Now this reminds me of our daughter when we first sent her to school some years back. We did enroll her to summer class first to make her familiar with the school environment, as you mentioned on item no. 1. Indeed it was a good decision as it helped her adjust.

Avenue Junkie said...

MY son will start school in June and by this article, I think we made the right decision to introduce him to his new environment before the school starts by enrolling him in his school's summer class. Thanks for the tips.

Joy said...

I think I am more nervous than my kid when she starts big school this year. Thanks for this article, though. I'll make sure to try your suggestions in introducing her to her new school.

Kaje said...

This isn't my concern as of yet as my toddler will only start with school next year. But I will bookmark this page so I can go back anytime :) Thanks for sharing!

Toni said...

my son won't be going to big school for next school year yet but i'll definitely go back to this post when he goes to big school next year. it pays good to be prepared. thanks for sharing!

alpha said...

thanks for these tips as my son will be going to a new school come june.

Jody said...

Very well said. In truth, it isn't just the kids who actually adjust in going to bigger school. The parents do as well. In fact, with so much anxiety, the parents are usually more nervous about the kids. Thanks for sharing the article. Well thought of. I can truly relate.