Getting your child to settle into school after year-end break

Children starting primary school may be looking forward to it as it will be a brand new experience for them.
Children starting primary school may be looking forward to it as it will be a brand new experience for them.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Getting back to the daily grind of school can be challenging for most children after the year-end holidays. It's hard to get the momentum going after weeks of too much play, later bedtime and, generally, a more relaxed schedule.

But children can enjoy a wonderful start to the fresh school term with a bit of help from their parents.

Here are some tips for parents to help their children settle into the rigour of school.

GET RID OF FIRST-DAY JITTERS

Children who are starting primary school and secondary school may look forward to the fresh term as it is a brand new experience for them. They are excited about buying shoes, a cool bag and all the latest personalised stationery.

However, this does not mean that they are not anxious about being the new kid on the block. Parents can reduce this anxiety by getting their children familiarised with the school.

Take the bus with them to determine the route before the start of the term. Check out the school's website to find out more about the principal and teachers. If your child is starting Secondary 1, find out the range of CCAs the school offers and which your child is interested in.

Show you are interested in your child's life beyond homework, exams and grades... Ask him what happened in school and if he has made new friends, and really listen when your child opens up to you. If you don't have this channel of communication, your child will not share deeper issues with you.

TEACH THEM RESPONSIBILITY

Children should pack their own school bags - start them off young. Give them the timetable and show them where to put certain things such as a pencil case and art supplies. Get them to record their homework assignments in the handbook or diary every day.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Show you are interested in your child's life beyond homework, exams and grades. Questions such as "do you have homework?" and "how did you score in the Maths test?" will give your child the impression that you are interested only in their studies instead of caring for them as a person.

Instead, ask him what happened in school and if he has made new friends, and really listen when your child opens up to you. If you don't have this channel of communication, your child will not share deeper issues with you.

PRAISE YOUR CHILD FOR INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENT

Set small goals for your child and praise him for his hard work and perseverance in achieving those goals.

This will help you track your child's progress and motivate him to continue improving.

ENCOURAGE THEM TO SHARE

Show your children that it's more fun to share with friends. If they are better at a subject, encourage them to help their classmates - this will reinforce their own learning.


• The writer is Deputy Director-General of Education (Professional Development) at the Ministry of Education and Executive Director of the Academy of Singapore Teachers. She is a mother of three and a former principal.


• This piece first appeared in Schoolbag.sg, MOE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2018, with the headline 'Getting your child to settle into school after year-end break'. Print Edition | Subscribe