Instead of dismissing your concerns, it’s important to acknowledge that starting school is an adjustment for both you and your child. Here’s how you can prep for the journey ahead.
How To Prepare Your Child For Preschool
Your home life will change a bit. There might be new morning and after school routines; homework time; a younger sibling at home missing their older sibling; conversation topics revolving around what took place at school. As you navigate these changes, remember that it’s natural to feel stressed or overwhelmed before finding your footing.
Consider getting more involved with his school by volunteering for activities, career days, or field trips. Remember the names of their classmates, and get to know their parents. When asking your child about school, don’t start with something vague like “What did you do today?” because your child will probably respond with, “I don’t know.” They’re not dismissing you. It takes time to digest a long day, so it’s unlikely that they’ll provide you with a detailed run-down on the spot.
Instead, ask your child simple, specific questions such as, “What did you eat for lunch?” or “Did you have water play or sand play at recess today?” The more you know about their school world, the more at ease you’ll feel.
Observe your little one
As your child continues their education, you might come across new worries such as, “Are they keeping up in class?” “Do they like school?” “Are they getting enough physical activity?” “Do they need to more stimulation? Should I sign them up for enrichment courses?”
It might feel like the worries never cease. Don’t ignore your concerns, but do find out if they’re well founded. If your child comes home singing songs they learned in class and is cheerful when you drop them off and pick them up from school, then you can put the worry “Do they like school?” to rest. The key is to observe your child. That way, you’ll be in tune with their needs.
If a concern is well founded, rather than blaming yourself and feeling like you’re failing to give your child the best, decide what action to take. Ask their teachers about their progress. If your kid’s Math or Mandarin needs some strengthening, help them review at home. If they don’t get enough exercise at school, make outdoor play a priority on the weekends or sign them up for a sports class they enjoy, whether it’s dancing or swimming.
You might consider sending your kid to enrichment classes to acquire or brush up on certain skills. The point is, doing something about the situation will make you feel more in control, and that in turn will help your confidence.
Believe in your child, believe in yourself
Take direction from your child. Don’t compare them with others. Any decision that you make about your kid’s education should be in tune with what you have observed about them and their learning style. The last thing you want is to overburden them with decisions that add stress to their lives.
Some things might be out of your control. When your kid comes home telling you that so-and-so doesn’t want to be their friend, or that another student didn’t invite them to their birthday party, what can you do? As much as you want to step in, it’s best not to interfere. Instead of feeling helpless, think about what you can do.
As much as we reassure our kids that school will be fun and that they’ll make plenty of friends, we can’t help feeling nervous when we leave them in school the first time. Will they fit in? Will the other kids be nice? What happens if they throw a tantrum? Give your child your undivided attention, make them feel more loved than ever.
Fill your home with warmth and acceptance. Let them feel valued. Have confidence in your child that they’re resilient and bright individuals who will find their way, even if it’s after some exploration and adjustments here and there. As your confidence in them grows, you’ll gain confidence as a parent as well.
By Jenny Tai
Read our Enrichment and Preschool Guide to learn about other enrichment programmes for your toddler or preschooler.