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Tips to help children adjust to their first day at school

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

The first day at school is always unnerving both for the parents as well as the child. This is especially so if your child is going to a prep school for the first time. Transitions are often difficult and the outcome generally affects the overall personality of the child. It is therefore important to help a child adjust to the new surroundings. The people who can make this happen are the parents and the teachers.

As a parent you can help reduce your child's fears by talking positively about the school and its environment. You can also tell the child some interesting anecdotes as to what happened when you went to the school for the first time. Often little things like these can be a huge motivating factor for your child. Increase the enthusiasm by involving him in activities like packing of the lunch boxes or wrapping the text books. You can also completely revise the daily schedule of your child ensuring he is ready for the school once the term starts.

The fears can also be quelled by getting the child to meet his new teacher before the term begins. If your child likes his new teacher then half the problems disappear. Another way to help your child adjust to the new environment would be to allow him to interact with other students who will be his classmates for the entire term. You can set the meeting on a one to one basis in your home or nearby place. This will help in breaking the ice between them and it is most likely they will become friends. The first day at school will be far more enjoyable if they already have friends on the other side of the school gate.

Always drop your child on their first day. This will give them a much needed moral support. However, take care not to enhance the goodbye time as this can only increase their want of not going to school. While picking up your child show special interest in the day's school activities and applaud the child for his effort.

As a teacher take care to understand each child's needs and guide them accordingly. If a child is crying try to stop him gently. Ensure that no child feels neglected. You should line up interesting activities for the day. If that is the case the children will enjoy their first day and the chances are that they may not remember their parents at all. Small treats like chocolates or a star in the notebooks at the end of each activity can make the transitions into the new environment much easier.

A chat with the parents and the child together can help you understand the child better. You can ask for suggestions and ideas from parents. Feel free to experiment with them.

In the end it is patience and a caring attitude that will make the first day of your child special and memorable.