It’s summertime! Children are back at school, public pools are open once again and winter break feels far, far away. However, summertime is also the period for change for many families. While some parents decide to switch their kids’ schools, others relocate for better work and education opportunities.
In any such scenario, it's critical to realise how changing your child's educational setting may affect them. Even for young ones, switching from a familiar environment to a new and strange one feels difficult, so parents must try to make this change for their children as smooth as possible.
Even though we try to organise our child's life in a way that limits emotionally taxing changes, eliminates uncertainty and establishes predictable routines, change is inevitable and when not treated with care, it can significantly affect our children. Moving to a new school is one such difficult period of change that comes in every child's life.
Here is how you can make your child’s school days the happiest period of his life.
Signs that show your child doesn’t like going to school…
1. Infants and young children may scream and cling to you as you drop them off to school. However, they settle down after a while.
2. Children who experience school anxiety typically exhibit a variety of stress or anxiety-related symptoms. Preschoolers could discuss their anxiety about going to school with questions like: "Can you remain at school with me?" They may also act out when you are dressing them for school or complain about having a headache or a stomachache.
3. Before the beginning of a new session at school, kids may complain of frequent headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, and difficulty sleeping. Some kids might develop an extreme phobia of school that makes it impossible to convince them to even enter the school building or the school bus. Once inside the school, they may continue to cry, complain of pain and find it difficult to be comforted by the teacher.
Reasons why kids may find it difficult to adapt to school life:
Many kids may despise the phrase "back to school." Do you have a child like this? Do you wonder why your child detests going to school? Here are a few startling facts that may give you a new perspective and help you handle your kids better:
1. Children feel stress and anxiety because of school work and constant performance pressure.
Whenever our child underperforms, we get disappointed and compare him to other, better performing classmates. Apart from this, teachers give much work and lessons to be done at home and punish kids when they fail to do so. No wonder then that children despise school and wish they didn’t have to go to it.
2. Fear of getting bullied
Many parents either overlook signs that show their children are being bullied at school or they simply remain unaware about bullying in schools.
If your child does not have any friends, or you find that his books or stationery or even uniform is smeared and he looks embarrassed and scared all the time, it might be because of bullying at school. Talk to him about it and guide him that he is not at fault and tell him how to tackle such a situation.
3. Academic Pressure
Not every child has a great memory. Nor can every child find it easy to read and write proficiently or solve mathematical equations quickly. Every child is not academically inclined, and those who are gifted athletically, musically, emotionally should not be strained to perform solely in academics. This creates unreasonable pressure that may cause kids to despise school life.
Tips/Suggestions/Things to Do
1. Begin and end your child’s day on a happy note.
Begin your child’s day with love. Give her your undivided attention and snuggle and play with her, even if it's only for ten minutes. Whenever you get back together after school, make sure you spend time with each child to learn about his/her day. This special time gives children a sense of security and they feel connected with their parents to reveal all their true feelings. You can ask them about school before hitting the bed too. Or you can use bedtime to tell stories and connect with them better.
2. Establish a routine by having early bedtimes and quiet mornings
Lack of sleep prevents children from having the energy required to handle their emotions through the day. Get your kids to sleep and wake up at the same time each day because predictable routines give children a sense of security and calm.
When kids wake up after a night of restful sleep, they are cheerful and feel eager to attend school too. Dress them up cute accessories such as hair bands, socks, scarves and gloves from One Friday to further pump their energies while you prepare to send them to school.
3. Calm their fears
Assure your children that they will be secure and happy at school while empathising with their worries. Let them know that feeling a little uneasy in a new setting is natural and tell them that they can rely on their teacher to look out for them. This will prepare them well to meet the challenges at school.
4. Prepare them for their first day through practice and pretend play.
Why wait until the first day of classes to make decisions? Students are most anxious about the unknown on their first day of school, especially those starting at a new institution. Take your kid for a test drive before the start of the school year. Take them with you to the bus stop. If they intend to walk to school daily, accompany them as you take the chosen route. Invite your child's pals to join you on your trial run if they will be attending school with your child. You can also accompany your child to school and assist her in locating her classroom and make her familiar with her surroundings to help her overcome anxiety.
5. Encourage Healthy Eating
Parents sometimes undervalue the value of a nutritious diet for kids, particularly when they are in school. While the occasional twinkie is a welcome treat, nutritious lunches and snacks need to be the norm at home. Children should always eat a nutritious breakfast at home, before they set off for school. Moms can use kids’ silicon feeding sets too to help little ones begin eating on their own. Children who skip breakfast lack the energy and concentration necessary to study, which makes it difficult for them to pay attention in class.
What Not to Do
1. Let your child make his own friends.
The good company goes a long way, but if you will keep telling your child who to become friends with and who to stay away from, he will not only lack confidence in his social skills but he will also not derive joy from his friendships, which is of essence to any happy childhood and school life. So, look out for your children but trust them to make mistakes and learn from them.
2. Don’t be Afraid of Failures
You might expect an easy transition back to school if you have a child who had some difficulties the previous year but made significant improvements during the summer. But it may not be the case.
Each year, give your child some time to adjust back to school and be prepared for the ups and downs that come along the way. Your child will get better if you are a committed parent and they are getting the right care from you
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What kind of emotions do kids go through on their first day of school after a long break?
On the first day of school after summer break, some kids may experience anxiety or even fear due to all the new things they will have to face including new teachers, new friends and possibly a new schoolroom too.
2. On the first day of school, what should you say to your child to encourage him?
Before your child leaves for school, tell him that you will come to pick him back home. Also tell him that you believe in him and that you know he is capable of handling all challenges. Let him know that teachers are present in school to guide him in tasks that seem beyond his ability and in the end tell him that you are proud of him, no matter what and will always be there for him.