How to get a first grader ready for school? 7 hacks for parents and children

How to get a first grader ready for school? 7 hacks for parents and children

It seems like it was almost yesterday when your child successfully started kindergarten, and already there is another important milestone: starting the first grade. Older friends and teachers at the kindergarten talk about it a lot, so they know it’s going to be fun! What can we as parents do to prevent that great initial enthusiasm from turning into disappointment, and how do we make children who are worried about school look forward to it?

1. Use the enthusiasm

Most children look forward to school. After all, they will become pupils! Generally, preschool children adore completing tasks. They enjoy filling out all kinds of worksheets, and they would stand on their heads just to be praised by the teacher. They also can’t wait to start buying all kinds of school supplies. We know that this can be a headache for parents (oh, those endless lists) but try to turn it to your advantage. Shop with the child. Let them choose the briefcase and shoes. In short, let them be present during the whole process, as it primarily concerns them.

2. Talk to each other

It may sound obvious, but many times we don't realise that problems can be solved just by talking. If you think your child doesn’t look forward to school, try to ask them why without putting pressure on them. Do not overlook seemingly unrelated problems (stomach pains and headaches, more frequent crying, poor sleep). Perhaps you could talk about when you started school, what you were afraid of and what helped you. It may take some time for your child to used to such a big change. They may miss a friend from their kindergarten, they could be ashamed that some classmates are doing better than them, or they could simply be scared of the bearded janitor. The most important thing is to find out the reason. Once your soon-to-be first grader talks about it, make it clear that you don't take their problems lightly, and that you will figure it out a solution together so that they start looking forward to school.

3. Talk with a teacher

Do not be afraid to communicate with teachers. By doing so, you will have a better idea of who your child meets on a daily basis. In turn, it will help the teacher if you tell them more about your child.

4. Motivate, don’t stress out

Children are naturally curious and enthusiastic about learning. It would be a great shame to bury their joy and ability to absorb new knowledge under a pile of tasks, reproaches, and punishments. Sometimes, a teacher is not able to fully utilise the child's enthusiasm. It is then up to the parents to show the child what their newly acquired knowledge will be good for and how wonderful our world is. The worst thing that can happen to us and our children is if we stop being curious.
If a child lags behind in school, their immaturity may be the reason. For children to be able to distinguish letters in a word or distinguish mirror-turned shapes, they need to have mature visual and auditory perception. Fine motor skills are also sometimes a problem. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Punishments will not help. Instead, try to consult with the teacher and come up with a way of studying that will not discourage the child. Don’t make the child repeat the tasks they struggle with. Alternate them with ones that do not cause a problem. At the same time, gradually increase the difficulty. If the child drowns in failure, it will not contribute to their enthusiasm.

On the other hand, your child may also be ahead of the other students, and school could become boring for them. Communication with the teacher, who can give them more difficult tasks, will help the most, and you can do other fun activities with your child at home.

5. Set your schedule

You may have already established a schedule after your child started kindergarten, and with the next big milestone, this will need to be adjusted. Together, you can alter their schedule and the schedule of the whole family so your child can find their way around and not feel overwhelmed. A fixed schedule is like a wall for children to lean against and feel more secure.

6. Think about rest

School in the morning, clubs in the afternoon, assignments and off to bed, with no time for playing? Let's not forget that children remain children after starting the first grade, and we must give them time to rest and play freely. Let them decide for themselves about how to spend their free time.

7. Enjoy quality time together

First graders may seem big and independent at first glance, but they still need you. They need reassurance that you are there for them and that you are happy to be with them. Go on a trip, cook something delicious, snuggle up under a blanket and read a good story, and enjoy each other. Before we know it, we'll be looking for tips on how to prepare them for the transition to high school…

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