When a child enters the first grade, it is a big day for him and you as a parent. The carefree childhood days will end with the first school duties and small stresses children are often not used to. To get through this time easily and not be frustrated with the school immediately, the child will need your help.
True, it will not be easy, because every child will soon learn that school is a duty and not so much "fun", as it is often promised. However, there is nothing that can be done to avoid it. School is compulsory, and with your help, the child can get used to it.
Steps before primary school enrolment
You have probably been preparing for school for some time now because most parents decide for their children to attend a reception year. It is not compulsory in England and Wales, but it is an excellent way to introduce children to school and prepare them for Year One.
In the Reception, your child learns to recognise and describe shapes and colours. They also learn the alphabet, high-frequency words and other things. An important part of pre-school preparation is that the child is slowly led to concentrating longer and paying attention to what the teacher is interpreting. It is also essential to encourage developmental skills like developing the fine motor skills to use pens, pencils, or scissors, to avoid bad habits or correct them in time.
It is helpful to research the school that your child is going to enrol in. It is not worth experiencing disappointment and frustration after the beginning of the school year when you find out that the methods at the school are "old fashioned" and not suitable for you. Nobody wants to search for another school at the last minute. Transition to another class during the first year and, of course, at any time later can mean the loss of friends and the difficulty of joining a new team.
What to prepare for during the first weeks?
The first thing that often surprises most parents is the child's reluctance to get up in the morning. To pre-school, they went with joy; they often woke up even before the sunrise and sometimes they could not sleep because of the excitement. The first week is a shock for the child because of the new environment, new children that they do not know yet. Even more, the entirely new approach and the new form of spending of free time. They have to sit in class; they need to listen carefully and fulfil the assigned tasks. The playing gradually becomes just a leisure luxury.
Many children show a desire and willingness to learn already in kindergarten, but they might lose their drive and enthusiasm at school. The frustration with school might intensify because September is the last month when the weather is nice and warm. The child does not want to spend this wonderful time at the school desk or home doing homework.
Helping your child in the first weeks at school
Do not make the same mistake as your parents did by saying, “it was much more difficult when we were entering Year 1, as there was no pre-school preparation or Reception”. It is a challenging process for children, and what they need the most is their loving parents’ support. Despite the constantly improving preparation process, the children always react the same way, as the transition is a massive step in their lives. You should therefore keep that in mind and guide them in the right direction.
Be ready to start learning and doing homework with your children after they return home from school. Try to create a schedule and dedicate your free time to helping, supporting and encouraging them. Improve their abilities and be curious about how your children are doing at school. When possible, try to involve them in new leisure activities and distract them from the school duties and responsibilities.
Most children will adapt to the whole new situation within a few months, and they usually start enjoying the school environment. The first term tends to be the most difficult one, but many children get used to it and accept it as a challenge after a while. Some may find it boring after the first term, but all that comes completely natural.
Helping immature kids
However, sometimes even your support is not enough. Some children cry every morning at the school drop-off. That happens quite often with preschoolers, as they have a more challenging time adjusting to change. If this lasts more than a couple of months, turn to the teacher, consult the school psychologist or seek the help of the educational mental health practitioner.