Prepare your child
- Take your child to visit the school a couple of times before the scheduled date. For example when you are paying the fees or getting the uniform.
- Take a tour of the school, show your child his/her class, the bathroom and the playground.
- Try to arrange for your child to meet his/her class teacher and know her name.
- At home talk about going to school and what kinds of activities your child will do.
- Get your child excited about going by getting him/her involved in buying their school bag, lunchbox, water bottle or shoes.
- Pack a nutritious but very attractive lunchbox.
- Make the getting ready for school routine as stress-free as possible. For example wake up early enough, prepare the bag and clothes the night before.
- Read a story about going to school or make up a small song about how fun it is to go to school.
- When you say "don't be scared" the child tends to get more scared so, just reassure the child about how exciting school is.
- Identifying a buddy at school can also help decrease apprehension about being alone in the new setting.
What to do if your child has difficulties
- If your child has significant difficulty with separation, consider picking him/her early for the first day or two. Discuss the plan with the teacher. As he becomes more comfortable, make his stay longer until eventually, he stays the whole day.
- Be firm about attendance if your child is reluctant.
- At the end of the school, make every effort to return when he/she expects you to, don't make him wait and worry that you have forgotten him/her.
- Some children may show regression in some behaviors, such as clinginess, sleep difficulties, thumb sucking, bed wetting and a reluctance to go back to school. These behaviors should be temporary and will be helped by your continuing encouragement and positive expectations.
Dr. Mona Youssri