PLAYGROUP - THE ROLE OF THE PARENT

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The scene is a common one for parents of kids about to begin school. First day of school. The older kids are jostling in and their parents are waving nonchalantly, seeming to have not a care. And then there are the new parents. Worry is written all over their faces although they are putting up a brave front.

PLAYGROUP-THE ROLE OF THE PARENT

Will my child cry? Will my child make friends? Will she be able to make it to the toilet on time? Will the older kids bully him? Will she eat the snack that I have packed for her? And the biggest question - Will she be happy in this school? For the newbies learning is not the main priority. They just want their child to come out after school with a smile and be happy to go back the next day.

The first day need not be one filled with dread if you and your child are a bit prepared. Here are a few tried and tested ways to get past the first day of school blues.

Be positive

Often, unknowingly, we as parents pass on our anxieties to our children. Our positive attitude towards school can work wonders in getting them through the transition. Being on a hyper mode is not recommended at all. Be very calm but enthusiastic about the first day but don’t overprepare the child in advance. Even if the first day doesn’t fulfil your expectations, find things to be positive about and talk to your child about them. There are bound to be a few days when your child utters the dreaded words “I don’t want to go to school today.” Find motivators and be ready.

Talk to your child

Do not mention the school too often but do bring up the topic once in a while. Maybe while passing by, say a few things about the school, before and after it begins, to find out your child’s concerns. Listen to her seriously and pay heed to the concerns. You could have a run through of situations like ‘what will you do if you cannot locate your classroom?’ or What will you do if you need to use the washroom?’ and so on. Role play a few realistic situations.

Make him independent

Before he starts school, make him as independent as is possible at his age. Teach him self care skills like putting on shoes, visiting the washroom and so on to build his confidence. Give him more responsibility at home too. Simple tasks go a long way in building confidence in young ones. A ‘can do’ attitude will help in settling down in the new school.

Help her make friends

It is possible that you will know others who are sending their kids to the same school. Get your child to bond with them in the intervening period between admission and actual classes. It may be a good idea to go to school together on the first day. Your child will feel more comfortable when he or she has at least one acquaintance.

The possible downs

A few children cry on the first day of school and for a few days afterwards too. While this may be due to a number of reasons, the main cause is separation anxiety. Most children do not like to leave their parents, especially the mother as they have spent most time with the mother since birth in his or her two year span in this world. Talk to him when he is calm and explain what fun school is going to be! Give rewards for not crying and not clinging. Be firm without being stern as this may make him cry more. Before school begins it is a good idea to let the child spend time without the parent present. The ideal way is getting together with friends with kids and arranging a set up wherein all kids spend time in one friend’s house on a particular day and the system continues. This will help to deal with separation anxiety and help him or her t adjust without the parent when he or she begins school.

It would serve to remember that all children are not the same. Some settle in quickly while some others take more time. Do not compare your child with other kids. If required talk to the child’s teacher about your concerns. It is likely that your kid will cling to you in the mornings and you will have to cold-heartedly wrench yourself from him and spend a miserable morning fretting over hm. Be assured that the moment you leave the room he will forget. He might throw up a tantrum again the next day but these don’t last long. There are children who do not cry during the first few days but begin once they realise that school is not temporary. So be prepared and talk to your child instead of ignoring issues.

Enjoy Playschool along with your child. Enjoy these years before your child grows up...

 

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