With another school year already underway, it is important to set your child up for success the best you can. Whether their first year out of the house in preschool/ junior kindergarten or they are a wily veteran entering full kindergarten, these tips can help both parents and children navigate the new reality of school time.
Set a Routine
Time and time again, studies have found that setting and maintaining routines is incredibly beneficial for children. For pre-school-aged children, these daily routines become especially pertinent throughout the school year. They can help ease separation anxiety as children will know what to expect from the day ahead.
By reducing anxiety and providing a sense of stability, these routines even help prevent temper tantrums as children will be able to answer questions for themselves. For example, when will I be going home today? Or, when and what will I be having for a snack?
Ask your child to help prepare their routine, and even have conversations about where aspects of it will take place so they can visualize what going to preschool will look like.
Make Sure Expectations Are Realistic
At Little Stars, our focus on academics sees us provide children with learning opportunities while engaging in play and social activities. This means that our students are expected to participate in a way that is beneficial to themselves and other students while demonstrating respect and kindness.
Having conversations with children about expectations beforehand gives them a conversation to reflect back on when being asked to meet these expectations. By letting them know that they will be expected to do certain things like share toys, they will be able to reference what good behaviour would look like when met with that scenario.
Ensuring that these expectations have been made clear beforehand gives your child the opportunity to ask questions and, like maintaining a routine, will let them know what’s expected of them before it’s time to deliver.
Teach & Encourage Independence
For little ones, spending the day away from mom and dad can still be a big and scary change.
By positioning them acting independently as something positive, we can give children the encouragement they need to begin completing tasks on their own.
Having your child do things like learning their full name and phone number and even tidying their room can show them that they are capable of managing aspects of their own life. This, in turn, will give them increased confidence as they see themselves as people who are capable, helpful, and have a role in their community. Children practice regular leadership in our classrooms to develop confidence and social skills.
Limit Access to Technology
Children aged 3-6 are knee-deep in a pool of developmental milestones, which makes this time incredibly impactful on their overall development. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS), data has established that a child’s earliest screen encounters can be formative – even habit forming.
Limiting screen time not only offers an opportunity to potentially avoid screen reliance in the future, but to have more time to focus on activities that promote cognitive, social, and physical development. When engaging in screen time, be sure to choose quality programming that fosters cognitive development, demonstrates diversity, and showcases healthy social dynamics.
Always Be Encouraging!
School, especially pre-school and kindergarten, should be fun! Like all of us, children are not immune to their own set of fears and worries, especially when approaching new situations. For all of the conversations had around goals and expectations, it is equally important to talk about why they should be excited.
Using positive and uplifting language when talking about school is important to avoid making it seem like a palace that will be hard or scary. Just as you outlined what their routine will look like, outline what fun they’ll be having! Letting them know that they will make friends, play with new toys, and get to know their teachers can ensure they feel optimistic about starting school.
Applying these tips can help make both children and parents adjust better to may likely be the first extended time away from each other. With patience and understanding, the process will become easier and even fun for the children!