Helping Your Child Settle At School

For any child, going to school is a massive deal! This is the biggest thing that is going on in their young lives, and it can be incredibly daunting. As a mother or father, you want your kid to adapt to school as soon as they can. After all, there is nothing worse than seeing your child cry because they don’t want to leave you. Then, once the tears stop, the upset tummy begins, and you’re then battling a constant made-up illness. It can be a trying time for any parent, but you follow the tips below, you can help your child adjust to the start of school. This can make the household a lot calmer and can help your child look forward to school instead of dread it.

1. Make sure the morning routine at your home is calm  - Getting your kid ready for school starts in the home. It is necessary to have a steady and smooth home routine, which should emphasize quiet mornings and early nights. If you have a struggle waking your children up every morning, this indicates that they are not getting enough sleep. If your child is not getting enough sleep, they will feel restless and frustrating in the morning, which can result in tantrums when taking them to school. This is because your child does not have the internal resources needed to cope with saying goodbye to you. Making sure your child gets enough rest is of paramount importance. Not only do you need to make sure they go to bed at the same time every evening, but follow a familiar routine and ensure their bedroom is cosy and the temperature is right. 

2. Arrive at the school gate before the bell ends for the day – This is a really important point! If you come to the school after the bell goes, your kid will begin to feel anxious and they will despair that you are not going to collect them. Of course, you would never leave your child, but that doesn’t stop children from thinking this way. After all, it is presumably the first time you have dropped them somewhere and then drove off, and so making sure you are there to welcome them once they leave the school gates is vital.

3. Make the transition as smooth as possible – Another way to help your child adjust to school is to make the transition as easy as possible. One of the ways you can do this is by having a familiar goodbye routine. This could involve telling your son or daughter that everything is going to be fine and you will be waiting for them. If this does not do the trick and your child does not want to separate from you, you should talk to his or her teacher to find out if there is something they can do to help. For example, the teacher may give your child a special job to do in the morning that will take their minds off the separation from you.

4. Don’t dismiss your child’s worry; get to the source of it – It is very easy to dismiss your child’s worries. After all, all children worry about school! However, before you write off how they are feeling, you do need to get to the bottom of why this is the case. Yes, it could just be general fears about leaving you and going to an unfamiliar environment. Or, their unhappiness could be deeper rooted. For example, it could be because your child does not understand anything in class or because they cannot see the whiteboard. It could even be because your child is getting bullied. Therefore, you need to ensure you are receptive to how your child is acting and feeling so you can determine where their worry is actually stemming from. It could be that their worries are something bigger, for example, they may have anxiety that goes above the usual child fears. There are lots of solutions here, such as hypnotherapy for anxiety, so look into these, as they can be very effective in children.

5. Spend some special time with your little one after they get in from school – When your child gets in from school, it is important to spend some time with him or her. Whether this means snuggling on the coach for ten minutes or watching a television together, just giving your child all of your attention is important. After all, they haven’t seen you all day, and this is unusual for them! You should also make sure that you take the time to hear all about your child’s day at school once you get home.

6. Replace tears with laughter – One of the best ways to help your child deal with the anxiety they are experiencing is to laugh together. Laughing is a great way for children to vent their anxiety. If your child is feeling fearful or anxious, give them as many reasons as possible to giggle. Whether this means telling them a joke or playing a silly game, once your child starts laughing, it will help to take their mind off of the worries that were plaguing them. The only exception to the rule here is tickling. You should not tickle your child because this can spark off a different reaction, causing stress hormones to build up. Instead, have a pillow fight or chase your child around the house – anything that is going to let them work off some energy and have a good giggle in the process. 

7. Calm your child’s fears – The next step to follow when helping your child adjust to school is to calm your child’s fears. While it is true that the majority of school anxiety comes from fears that adults find irrational, for example, that you will disappear while your child is at school, to your little one, this is a big fear that they are genuinely worried about. Don’t get annoyed with your child or dismiss their fears. Address them and explain to your child that when people love each other, parting can be hard, but that they are going to have fun and that the school can always contact you if needed. 

8. Give your child something so they don’t feel like they are alone – For most children, the reason why they find going to school so difficult is because they do not want to say goodbye to you. The chances are that they have been attached to your hip for the past few years, and so leaving you for the day can be exceptionally daunting. However, if you give your child something to hold onto, it will help them feel close to you and like they haven’t had to say goodbye, for example, you can give them a paper heart with a love note or a picture of the family – anything that makes your child feel safe. It is also a good idea to develop a parting ritual, such as a hug or even a special handshake – whatever works for you and your child. 

9. Help your child to bond with other kids – Once your child bonds with another child, school will become much more appealing. While you want your child to make friends naturally, there is nothing wrong with giving this a little push along. For example, you could speak with your kid’s teacher to find out what other children your child has been playing with. You could then invite these children over to play or you can connect with the other child’s and you could take your kids for ice cream together – anything that gives your child a chance to bond with their new friends outside of the school environment. 

10. Help your child to connect with their teacher – Last but not least; you should help your child to connect with his or her teacher. This is important because children need to feel connected to an adult they believe is going to keep them safe. Of course, this adult is usually you. However, when you are not there, your child needs to transfer their attachment to their teacher instead. This is something you can assist with if the relationship does not develop naturally. All you need to do is contact the teacher and explain that you are concerned that your child does not seem to have settled in yet. 

If you follow the ten tips that have been presented above, you can help your child get used to school as quickly as possible. After all, this represents a huge change in their life. However, if you help them to adjust, you can ensure that school becomes the norm; somewhere they feel secure and comfortable. You will have no more tears and tantrums in the morning. In fact, you may even find that your child doesn’t want to come home at the end of the day! 

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