7 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Primary School
It’s a whole new adventure for the next six years of their lives.
Here are some tips on how you can get your child comfortably settled into Primary 1.
1. Set up a new timetable at home.
The best preparation work will start from home. Do create and seize opportunities for your child to cultivate good habits that would help your child ease into P1.
You can do this by drafting out a timetable that matches school hours. Explain the daily routines to them and do allocate time for various activities such as reading, having meals, playing games, etc. A timetable would teach your child to prioritize and manage their time. Keep to a regular routine so that they can get used to it and feel comfort. Also, do cut down on the nap time that coincides with the school hours and put your child to sleep early every night. Hence by the time Primary 1 officially starts, your child should be able to wake up early and start off the day with a healthy breakfast.
2. Talk about making new friends.
Firstly acknowledge your child’s sadness about missing their preschool friends as well as their anxiety about having to make friends at Primary school. If possible, do plan a meet up with your child’s preschool pals to ensure some form of familiarity. Simultaneously, do brainstorm with your child can do to make new friends. You can role play with your child and encourage them to practice introducing themselves or even what questions they could ask a possible new friend to break the ice. More importantly, do set time aside daily to talk to your child about who they met, the names of their new friends, and who they sat next to in class and at recess. Remember to listen with an open mind, be encouraging and celebrate their efforts and bravery!
3. Prepare them for buying food at the school canteen.
Buying food from the canteen for the first time can be nerve-wracking for some children. Help your child feel more confident by following these tips:
Role Play: Do "role play" where you pretend to be the canteen aunty/uncle and have your child practice dialogue and handling money. You can also reverse roles. This will help familiarise them with the interaction.
Practice in real life: When visiting a bakery or the food court, do encourage your child to make small purchases and manage their money. You can also encourage your child to place their own orders.
However, if your child is still lacking comfortability, you can pack "emergency recess snacks" such as fruits or sandwiches for your child in case they don't have time to queue or find it too difficult to manage during recess time. As a parent don’t stress. Practice with your child more and in time, they should be able to manage.
4. Get your child to be involved in preparing their school supplies.
Let your child participate in buying and labelling their school books and supplies. Do encourage them to flip through their textbooks and going through their new art and music supplies and fresh notebooks. Do start conversations about which items are for what subjects to get them interested in what they will soon learn. Through this process of labelling their materials, they will feel a greater sense of ownership over their belongings.
5. Inculcate Independence.
Besides academic focus, it is crucial for students to learn independence, assume accountability and take responsibility for their belongings.
Do get your child into a routine to encourage a sense of ownership over their work and belonging. You can start with simple responsibilities such as getting your child to file up worksheet, borrow and return library books , ensure their stationary are prepped for the next day. You can consider starting your child off with a checklist as a guide. You can also set up a work space for your child and encourage them to write down in a daily planner.
6. Teach Your Child to Focus for Longer Periods Of Time
Set short tasks for your child (e.g. practise writing simple words to phrases) and extend it to longer periods.
By slowly extending the task, it would allow the child to increase their attention span and help them focus. Do have a variety of tasks the child can work on that engages their senses and multiple intelligences. Eventually move on to a more classroom approach style.
7. Open conversations & managing anxiety
Do have open conversations with your child where you are listening attentively. Do not be in a rush to tell your child what they need to do to solve the challenge they are facing. Instead work through the issue with them leading the discussion and you guiding. Remember to manage your own expectations as a parent, and do not channel your anxieties onto your child. Instead, always give them the support and encouragement they require to overcome the challenges of starting primary school. Celebrate all their achievements, not only academic achievements. Remember that your child is a remarkable being and should be valued.
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