At Western International School of Shanghai, we realize how nervewracking the first-ever day of school can be for little ones, and parents alike. With time and support, children will love coming to school every day. You may be curious how to support your child in this transition, and how to prepare your child for the first day of school. This article shares how to help you prepare your child for the first day of school.
Starting school can bring about big feelings of uncertainty, fear, and stress for our youngest learners. Just like any big change in a young child’s life, this new adventure can bring about a multitude of emotions. As a school, WISS will be there to support and comfort your child, but there are also many things that parents can do to help make this transition easier.
Here are our top 5 tips for how to prepare your child for the first day of school. Many of these tips and tricks will ensure that your child is ready for the transition to the classroom and off to a great start to the school year.
Tips to Prepare Your Child for the First Day of School
Tip #1: Read good books about starting school
At WISS, we are big fans of the power of a good book. Kids learn so much through storytelling, and it is a great tool to help them prepare for the unexpected. Here are a few good books that would be nice to include in your storytime over the coming weeks: Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, Ming Goes to School by Deirdre Sullivan, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, Rosie Goes to Preschool by Karen Katz, All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold, First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg, The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, and Sounds Like School Spirit by Meg Fleming. We are sure you can find many more books. Reading books about starting school is a great way to prepare your child for the first day of school.
Tip #2: Try Role-Playing
Speaking of great tools for preparing children for the unexpected, role-playing is a classic tool that works for all ages. You can “play school” and let your child pretend to be the teacher or the other way around. You can act out the steps of the school day, review the school rules and talk about different subjects, all through role-playing games! Pull out a whiteboard and let your child pretend to teach you, we promise they will love it!
Tip #3: School Supplies Shopping Together
Sometimes all it takes to get a child excited for school is a new backpack in their favorite color or a new lunchbox with their favorite cartoon character. By going shopping for school supplies together you can allow your child to be part of the preparation process and really get them excited. Having favorite and special items that are only for school will help create a positive association that school is a fun and exciting new adventure, which it is!
Tip #4: Practice Self-Help Skills
We know many parents try and prepare their kids for school by reviewing the concepts of Math, English, and other Academic skillsets. We will let you in on a big tip: academic learning is our job, and we are ready to welcome your child into the classroom to learn. One thing that you can do to help your child is review and practice self-help skills. Skills like opening their snack box independently, washing their hands properly, undressing to use the restroom, and putting on their jacket are all skills that will help your child feel comfortable and confident during the school day.
Tip #5: Be Confident and Stay Calm
It is important for your child to see that you are confident, excited, and calm about the start of school as well. If you are nervous and have doubts try not to let your child see these. Reassure them that a school is a safe place where they will make new friends and that their teacher is a trusted and caring adult.
Encourage your child to ask any questions they may have, or share any concerns they have. You can be there to answer those questions and help reassure them throughout this process.
We hope that these five tips help you and your child feel comfortable and confident in your first days at your new school. Starting school is a big step and it takes the support and effort of the entire family to make this transition a success.