Wednesday, 4 February 2015

10 tips to ease our children's first day of school

Assalamualaikum and may we all be blessed by Allah always,InsyaAllah. MasyaAllah, it's already February of 2015...how fast does time flies?? For a lot of parents (me included) the first month of this year has been filled with anxiety and worries as our precious little child(ren) went off to school for the first time.




I sent off all my 3 boys on their first day of school...well, pre-school actually; for the first time ever this year. My children has thus far been spending 24 hours a day at home with me as I am a full-time stay-at-home-mom or SAHM. Having never been with anyone else other than me, you can understand the kind of anxiety and thoughts I had just thinking about how they would react to being in an environment that they have never been in and being surrounded by people they don't know.

Will they be crying non-stop at school? Will they be able to communicate with their teacher if they need anything? Will they be able to blend in with their school-mates and make new friends? Will they be bullied by other kids or scolded by their teachers??? OMG?? So may situations playing around in my mind... 

All in all, the first few weeks of school went well really. Actually it is has been nearly a month that my kids went to pre-school and so far it has been good. It wasn't as horrific as I first imagined it would be and not nearly as dramatic as the scenes I imagined in my head. The important thing is that as a mother (and/or father) we have to know what to expect and how to handle each situation that arises. Also, adequate preparation is utmost important. And everything will InsyaAllah, be smooth with a few simple and easy steps I followed and here I will share them with you in the hopes that they might be able to help you too.

How to make our child's first day of school (much much) easier and drama-free??

1. Let your child know in advance that they will be going to school and explain to them what they will be doing and what to expect at school. Normally children feel scared about going to school because its a new environment for them. It is our job as parents to explain to them that school is a place to learn and gather knowledge. Tell them well beforehand that you will be sending them to school so that they are mentally prepared.

2. Make a few visits to their school in advance and show them that this will be their school. Make an effort to visit or just drive in front of their school-to-be and show them that that is where they will be going to soon. Point out the toys or any "cool" stuffs they have there that you kids would like. For example, point out to them that their school is beautiful..with pictures of mickey mouse painted on the walls (if they have it) and also point out that they will be able to play on the swing set, slide or any other games they have there.

3. Share your experience and tell them that is is a normal process and that they shouldn't be scared. Tell them the your experience at school (but only the good ones ok!) and tell them all the fun stuffs they can expect at school like drawing, painting, singing and playing with their friends. Tell them that it is a process that everyone goes through, even mummy, daddy, aunties and uncles they know. Assure that they will be fine and that the teachers are all nice and kind (as this is what normally worries them most).

4. Countdown to the days that they will start school. A year before you plan to send them to school, tell your kids that next year they will be going to school. About 6 months before going to school, remind them again. 2 months before going to school tell them that next month they will be going to school. Repeat at one month, 3 weeks and 2 weeks. After that make a chart or mark off each of the days left on the calendar with them so that they can see that the day they will start school is getting nearer. This way, they will understand and know in advance the exact day they will start school and can prepare themselves better.

5. If they have to wake up earlier than they normally would, start a routine a few days in advance. Kids need routines in their life. If they normally wake up late and suddenly have to wake up one day very early to go to school, you will have a hell of a time trying to get them to wake up and get ready for school. The best thing is to start waking them up an hour earlier than they would normally, about 2 weeks before they start going to school. Keep waking them up earlier and earlier gradually so that they can slowly get used to waking up early. 

6. When at school, point out all the great things they have at school. When you send them to school for the first day, usually the teachers encourage the parents to be there with the kids. Upon arrival, try to find and point out to your children what great and exciting things they have there. Point out all the story books they will be able to read, point out the paintings on the wall that they will soon do, point out the lovely teachers who are kind and nice to them. After their first day is over and you get home, remind them of the fun activities they did at school. Remind them about the songs they sang, the games they played and the things they learnt. 

7. When its time to leave say good bye and tell them that you love them. Always say good-bye to your child before leaving them at school. NEVER leave quietly without them knowing! Tell them that you love them, that they will have fun at school and that you need to leave, but not to worry because you will be back to get them once their school has finished. Assure them with lost of hugs and kisses but do not scold them and be irritated if they cry or make a scene. Keep talking and assuring them that they will be fine and that there is nothing to be scared about. They might cry and be clingy but be firm. 

8. Do NOT linger. Leave immediately! Once you decide to leave them at school, just leave. Don't keep procrastinating and keep coming back even if your child cries and makes a scene. Be assured that the teachers have lots of experience with these sort of things. They can handle it no matter how bad a tantrum your child might throw at them. You have to be strong and try to ignore their cries (I know how hard this can be, but believe me, this is the best way). For some reason, children are usually a lot stronger and braver when their parents are not around and tend to calm down better when they don't see they parents.

9. Control our emotions, keep calm and always have a smile on your face. Your children's reaction will mimic your reaction as well. If their parents are calm and always smiling and happy, the children will tend to be much calmer. But, if the parents are themselves scared and hesitant, the child will feel insecure and will tend to be scared. No matter what our children's reactions are, we ourselves have to be calm at all times. Deal with whatever happens calmly and in a positive manner.  

10. At the end of the day ask them how their day went and make them feel good about going to school. Ask them how their day went and what activities they did in school. Make them feel good by saying that "wowww...so clever" or as we Malaysians say it "bestnyerrrrrrr". hehe. Make them excited to go to school again tomorrow. Point out the great things they can look forward to tomorrow.

AND...repeat again and again until your children has gotten used to the routine of going to school each day, InsyaAllah. One important thing is to make sure you do the same thing everyday so that your children can develop a routine that they can follow.

I hope these tips will be able to help someone out there who going through the same same experience. May everything go well for you and your children. Hopefully everything will be easy and calm and your children will be able to start their learning experience happily and excitedly. Most of all, remember that whatever comes, its a normal process and that you are not alone.

All the best! All the good things are from Allah and any inadequacy is from me. Have a wonderful day. InsyaAllah.

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