For many children and parents, the start of primary school marks the first significant separation they will have experienced. For the first time, children will be away from their parents for six hours of the day, and parents may return to full-time work. It’s no surprise that it can be a stressful time for both parent and child, but it’s also the start of a system of education that will define your child’s life. It’s important, therefore, for children to start with a great impression of school- finding it fun, engaging and safe- so that this will last them for years to come. As a parent, you may feel far away from your children at this time, but there are a number of things you can do to make it easier for them.
Ways To Help Your Child Through Primary School
- Communicate with your child. It’s very important that you pay attention to all the things they say about school- and the things they don’t say. Ask about each day and try to pinpoint any areas where your child might be having difficulties. Remember that children don’t always say how they’re feeling, so check for body language that might indicate a similar problem or unhappiness. Through talking with your child, you’ll be able to find out how they’re doing and what you can do to help.
- Familiarise them with school gently. Most schools won’t start children on full days right away- instead, they’ll have them in for part of the day at first to get them accustomed to being at school. You can help further by bringing them to the school grounds before school begins, and establishing it as a nice place to play. If possible, it’s also a good idea if you and your child can meet the teacher beforehand, so they won’t feel quite as scared on their first day. It’s a good idea for you to maintain good contacts with your child’s teachers throughout primary school.
- Help your children with their schoolwork. This will allow you to keep an eye on their progress, and figure out if they need some extra help before it becomes too late and they fall behind in class. Once behind, it can be hard to catch up, so it’s a good idea to keep ahead of things. Provide a nice quiet place that they can do homework, and set aside a certain hour each day that homework is done. It’s best to get them into a habit of completing homework as early as possible- a good study ethic will help them many years down the track.
- Associate with other children and parents. At pick up and drop off times, see if you can become familiar with other parents and their kids. Not only will it make your child’s life easier by lining up potential playmates, but it’s also very likely that you will be meeting a lot of other parents as your child goes through school. It’s a good idea to start making friendly acquaintances as soon as possible.
- Keep your child well rested and fed. Make sure they have a proper lunch every day, with healthy and filling snacks. Also, try to ensure they get enough sleep- tiredness in class will make them struggle and fall behind. Especially to start with, children may find it tiring doing lessons and activities all day. For children to get the most out of school, they need to be fully recharged every morning.
Primary school marks the start of an education that will prepare your child for the rest of his or her life. As a parent, the best gift you can give your child is a strong and positive start.