Six ways you can help prepare your child for the new school year

Is your child dreading the new school year? If so, that’s quite normal. It’s also quite normal for you to worry too, especially if you’re a new parent

As schools around the world reopen after long lockdowns, getting back into your daily school routine can feel tough for both you and your child. 

But with just a little bit of planning, the transition from online to physical classes can be made a lot less painful. So in this article, we’ll share six suggestions to help you prepare your child for the new school year. 

1) Get your child to sleep early. 

Children tend to stay up late during school holidays, and as a consequence, can find waking up early in the morning for school once term starts again more difficult.

If a child is forced to change their routine abruptly when school start, they might might find it a shock. Your child might also experience sleep deprivation, which has a variety of harmful effects on the human body

Sleep deprivation will also make it difficult for your child to learn effectively in the classroom, defeating the purpose of going to school. In some cases, your child might even start throwing tantrums in the morning to avoid school and get some more sleep.

So one of the first things you should do as you prepare for the new school year is to fix your child’s schedule. You want to move your child’s bedtime earlier gradually to avoid stressing them out. 

For example, you can start moving the bed time early by 10 minutes each day. The goal is to achieve a bed time that will allow them to get sufficient sleep (based on their age)  when the school re-opens. And the sooner you start adjusting the bed time, the easier it’s going to be!

2) Get your child organized

Organized students tend to be more successful than messy students who tackle school without a plan. If your child has been out of touch with the structure of school for a long time, they might need some help getting organized for school.

You can begin by helping your child declutter their room, especially their study desk. Selling or donating educational supplies that are not needed is a good idea. Same goes for clothes, shoes, and toys. The cleaner your child’s study area is, the better their focus (and thus academic performance) will be.

Introducing your child to the concept of a study planner is also a good idea. Study planners make sure you are always on top of the coursework, which prevents students from freaking out and cramming before exams. 

There’s a plethora of pre-made planners that are available online, such as Cluey Learning’s free study planner. So make sure to help your child find one that suits them.

Finally, in this age of mobile applications, there are many more organization tools designed for students. And depending on your child’s age, make sure you introduce them to these apps!

3) Alleviate your child’s fears

For many children, schooling is not a pleasant experience, especially if they’ve been bullied or struggle academically.

And it’s very possible that your child is anxious about the new school year. So it’s important for you to judge your child’s mental state as the opening date comes closer.

Ask your child about how they feel about school and see if there’s something specific that is bothering them. Then work towards trying to solve that problem for them. You might have to talk to your child’s teachers, classmates, or see a doctor depending on their complaint.

One thing to watch out for is separation anxiety disorder (SAD), which can occur as children start school for the first time. Children with SAD may complain about a variety of physical symptoms (like headache) to avoid school. If you’ve noticed this in your child during previous schooling years, it can be a good idea to seek out professional help for them.

4) Make sure your child understands the local COVID-19 protocols

If your child is going to school for the first time since lockdowns started, things might be very different for them. Depending on your locality, children might need to:

  • Wear masks at all times during school
  • Maintain a three-feet distance to reduce transmission
  • Get screened for COVID-19
  • Frequently their wash hands

Many children don’t understand the importance of these measures. If your child is one of them, they might ignore them or become stressed when asked to follow them. So make sure to talk to your child about the COVID-19 pandemic, its implications, what prevention measures they are expected to take, and why they should follow the guidelines. 

The pandemic is also an excellent opportunity to instill good habits in children and here’s how you can do that.

5) Help your child become familiar with their school

Getting to know their school building, classrooms, teachers, and staff in advance can reduce anxiety in children, especially if they’re going to school for the first time.

Many schools conduct orientation sessions, so make sure you take advantage of them. Even if a school is not having orientation, you can visit it independently with your child and meet the people there.

Another way to make your child comfortable is to remind them about their teacher in the days leading up to school. This might seem weird but it works. You can try:

  • Mentioning the teacher’s name during conversations — make sure to speak positively of the teacher
  • Show your child the teacher’s photo and ask them to draw their picture
  • Have ex-students of the teacher talk to your child and tell them why they are a great teacher

All of this will kickstart the bonding between your child and their teacher, which is super-important for effective education.

6) Get them back into study habits

It’s normal to get rusty during long periods away from school. And you don’t want to spoil your child’s holidays by forcing them to study all the time, but getting into gear gradually before school is a good idea.

You can begin by encouraging your child to read. Take them to the bookstore and get them the books they want to read (not the books you think they should read). Cultivate a habit of reading in your family, so you can lead by example.

Making your child practice their handwriting is also a good idea, as this is one area where children struggle a lot after long breaks.

Finally, summer assignments are another way of getting back into study habits. It’s very likely that your child is waiting for the eleventh hour to complete these assignments. You should be proactive about this to help your child complete their work well before their school reopens. Here’s how you can make homework more fun and easy for your child.

Photo by Jerry Wang