First day of school: Useful tips, advice for parents whose kids are starting out

Primary 1 pupils at Westwood Primary take part in a lesson where they do breathing exercises to help them relax.
Primary 1 pupils at Westwood Primary take part in a lesson where they do breathing exercises to help them relax. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Is your child starting his or her first week of school?

Fret not - here are some expert tips on how to curb those initial jitters and help them adapt to a new environment. 

1. Importance of adequate preparation

Former school principal Jenny Yeo shares a few useful tips on how to prepare your child for the first day and week of primary school - getting them happy and excited about school, she says, is half the battle won. 

Other pointers include training your child how to put on the school uniform, discussing school rules and regulations, and helping him or her understand it is the start of his formal education and there are certain expectations. 


2. Creating the environment for success


Some parents may have misconceptions about their their child's readiness for school, according to Ms Zhang Gui Yue, a psychologist at the child development unit of the National University Hospital.

Ms Zhang highlights the common ones, such as how parents often equate school readiness with academic preparation, and dispenses advice on how to rectify them.


3. Watch out for anxiety

While most children adapt quickly to a new situation, others will need help to transition to a new environment or they risk feeling isolated, unloved and incompetent. 

Counselling psychologist Lee Kham Chuan says school anxiety can affect a child's academic performance and relationships at school. He highlights the signs to watch out for and three things parents can do to help a child cope with back-to-school anxiety. 


4. Adapting to a new routine and school environment

In response to a parent's anxious query about her daughter making the transition from kindergarten to Primary 1, The Straits Times' senior education correspondent Sandra Davie lists some expert tips she collated from parenting sites. 

"It is normal to feel anxious, but remember that your child can easily pick up on your emotions. Give her lots of love and support. Be excited and enthusiastic about her starting school. This sends her the positive message that school is exciting and that she will cope and have fun."