Going back to school can be daunting for children, it brings about a lot of changes that are both exciting and a little bit scary. It offers them the chance to make new friends and meet new teachers. It is natural for children who are starting new schools to feel nervous and uncertain, but parents need to clear away any concerns.
Transitions are important for growth and development; it is important to remember that all children are different, and some children respond better/worse to changes in their routines and schedules.
Here are some tips for parents on how to prepare them for the new term:
1. Introduce regular bed-time stories
According to research from Literacy Trust regularly reading to your children has excellent benefits such as comfort and reassurance, offering them security and relaxation, and allow is fun and interactive. Devoting time out of your busy day to give your full attention to reading a story to your children tells them that they matter and helps them to learn new words and build upon their imagination. Reading is also a great way of spending quality time together and improving their reading level.
You can create a new routine of reading a bedtime story before bed. Additional research from Parents.com explains that there are neurological differences between kids who have been regularly read to and children who have not. To enhance your child’s language skills further, parents can use story-time as an additional method of conversation and building upon their cognitive skills from an early age. Typically reading a bedtime story before bed also aids in helping children to have a good night’s rest which is vital when they need to get up early for school the next morning!
2. Set up a schedule
The US Department of Health and Human Services outlines the significance of maintaining consistent schedules and routines for children; step-by-step routines give children a predictable day, helping them to feel in control of their environment and to engage in learning.
In the initial stages of planning sleep, play, reading, and other activities, you might be met with resistance and lots of temper tantrums from your child as they adjust and transition from the laid-back routine they had during summer. That’s why it’s great to implement this new system a few weeks or even a month before moving up a school year/starting a new school altogether as it will give your child time to get used to it before starting school again in September.
Your child’s schedule is completely down to you, you might be strict and say for them to be in bed by 7 pm every night and you will read to them for 30 minutes, and then it is lights out or you might be more flexible and allow your child to sleep later – that decision is down to you.
3. Organise some play dates
Arrange some outings with their existing friends or potential classmates (if they are joining a new school or moving up a class). Sometimes just being around other children, their own age can create a sense of calmness and will reduce anxiety before tackling the upcoming school year.
Maybe your child keeps asking you to take them to an adventure theme park? Or they are desperate to join a dance class? Or football club? These activities promote practical social and emotional skills. They are great places for practicing manners and for learning to share and take turns – work hard play hard!
The Playground Resource emphasised the trust and independence that is learned at playdates. Children can think freely and make their judgments and most importantly learn from their mistakes. For example, they might not be used to sharing their toys if they are an only child and they may act out if they are forced to. However, they will grow to realise that everyone must share at some point in their life, and it is a good skill to have.
4. Get to know the new teachers
The chances are, you will already know the name of your child’s teacher before they start in September. But what is stopping you from getting to know the teacher a little bit more beforehand? If your child has special needs or requires any reasonable adjustments in class, it is great to establish this with the teacher beforehand. At the end of the day, they are there to help and they want to do what’s best or right by your child to aid in their learning. If your child is, for example, a slow reader or learner, then communicating this to his or her teacher will enable them to receive more help. Equally, if your child has had a difficult time over the summer holidays or is feeling a bit apprehensive about going up a class in school, the teacher will understand how to smooth over any concerns and calm the child down.
There is no denying that connecting the words ‘summer’ and ‘studying’ can be difficult for parents before the back to school season, but it doesn’t need too long stints of learning. It can be fun and interactive too, this will help to keep your child’s mind sharp and stimulated – according to The School Run, “Children who do not engage in any type of mental activity during the summer lose 1/3 of what they have learned during their school year”. Extra learning also will help you to work out where your child’s key strengths lie. Maybe it is in English and they excel at writing, spelling, and reading or maybe they are great at art and drawing – these are remarkable skills to grasp at an early age.
5. Home timetable
Usually, you will be able to access your child’s school timetable a few weeks in advance of them leaving their old classes – it is important to look at the subjects they will be learning so you can facilitate making time for them to learn during the summer holidays. For example, if you know they will be moving up to Year 2 – you can help them to add and subtract up to 20 and teach them time and simple fractions – this will be so useful ahead of their new classes. If your child will be moving into Year 4 for instance and one of their language core subjects is English you can help them with action words, verbs, and repeating sentences back to you, you can help them with action words, verbs, and repeating sentences back to you.
Enhancing your child’s literacy development in a child’s native language has never been easier thanks to our variety of tools at our worldwide training centres and online. Our proven play-based teaching method is both fun and interactive and will help to inspire your children’s minds.
6. Ask open-ended questions
Ask them about how they are feeling for the upcoming school year, some examples are: “Are you ready for school in September?” and “Are you looking forward to seeing your friends again?”. These questions are both open-ended and will prompt your child to delve a bit deeper into any fears or issues they might have with starting school again.
Remember, the more encouraging you are with your child about embarking on their new adventure and moving up a class in school, they will be calmer and more relaxed regarding the back to school experience.