SAS - Eight Steps to Prepare Your Child for School

Eight Steps to Prepare Your Child for School


The first day of school for your little one can be nerve-racking for both the parent and child. The mixed emotions of excitement, worry, and apprehension are completely normal as your child embarks on a new adventure. Here are eight tips from Singapore American School’s early learning center teachers to help ensure a smooth transition:

  1. Read books that help prepare your child for the first day of school and reduce the anxiety of separation. Here are some recommendations:
  • Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School! By Christina Geist
  • The Pigeon Has to Go to School! by Mo Willems
  • The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton
  • Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen
  • You’re Finally Here by Melanie Watt
  1. Practice self-help skills

At preschool, the youngest learners are encouraged to be independent learners. Help your child to master some self-help skills like unpacking and repacking their backpack, putting on their socks and shoes, using utensils, eating their meals independently, and more.

  1. Make a visit to the preschool together

Some preschools allow parents to visit the classroom with their child before the first day of school. Parents may set up an appointment with the teacher so the child can explore the new environment and it provides parents with the opportunity to ask questions about routines and common activities. This will help boost your child’s confidence and increase their comfort level.

  1. Use pretend play to explore the idea of preschool.

Act out daily routines that could take place at the preschool—saying goodbye, having circle time, playing outside, having lunch independently, singing songs, and more. While you are acting out those daily routines, take turns being the parent, child, and teacher. Remember to reassure your child that preschool is a place where your child will learn and have fun while learning. 

  1. Set up a routine

Establishing a routine before the first day of preschool will help students learn about the sequence in which some activities are taking place and help children prepare mentally for the day ahead of time. Talk to your child about the morning/afternoon routine so they are not caught off guard by the new schedule. Establishing your child’s “weeknight bedtime” will help your child get into the preschool schedule.

   6. Prepare together

Start the tradition of shopping for special back-to-school supplies like a backpack, lunch bag, water bottle, school shoes, and more. Ask your child what kind of snacks and lunch they would like to bring to school, shop together for the ingredients, and prepare the meals with your child. This gives your child a sense of control and emphasizes the fact that he/she is a “big kid” starting school.

   7. Remember to listen to and acknowledge feelings

Allow your child to express their feelings—listen closely and acknowledge those feelings. You might also need to acknowledge that your child may regress in some areas as they make developmental growth in another. Provide your child with nurturing support and know that the regressions are only temporary.
 

   8. Do not overprepare

If you make the first day of school a big deal, your child might get more anxious. "Some well-meaning parents begin talking about preschool and building it up too far ahead of time, and by the time school starts, the child feels this is a huge event in her life, which can be overwhelming to a little one," shares Silvana Clark, author of 600 Tips For Early Childhood Directors. Talk about preschool in a casual and upbeat manner about three weeks before school starts. Associate your child’s surroundings with the environment they may be able to experience at school. For example, “When you go to preschool, you’ll get to play with blocks with your friends at school!” or “You’ll have a slide like that one at your preschool.”

Lastly, remember to put on a happy face and tell your child that they will have a lot of fun meeting new friends, learning, and playing at school!