I am Going to School

The big day is almost round the corner. For many two-and-a-half to three-year-olds in India, their first foray into the world of school – preschool begins in April. There are many children who are a little wobbly about their first day at school, but the ones most fearful are those going to school for the very first time.

I am Going to School

I am Going to School [Illustration by Shinod AP]

How do you as parents ensure that the butterflies in the stomach subside soon? Here are a few tips gathered from parents who have been through the mill and the constant bottomline is of course patience and understanding:

  • A day before D-day, drive or walk your child to the school to help her become familiar with the new routine. Show her important landmarks near the house.

 

  • Arrange to visit the school and make her see the new classroom before the first day so that she feels a bit more comfortable.
  • Help your child understand the safety rules if she is going to travel by the school bus such as waiting for the bus to stop before attempting to get on or off it.
  • Tell her the importance of staying on the sidewalk or that she should stick to the main roads and avoid taking short cuts through deserted areas.
  • Organise a small play focused on her routine at the school, including all the activities that will open up a new window to the world for her and all the new friends she will make.
  • Write down your name, address and phone number on a piece of paper and put it in your child’s pocket.
  • Start helping your child learn important phone numbers and names of the people to be called in case of emergency.
  • Make sure that the child is able to punch your phone number from a telephone booth and pass on any message to you. Children love dialing, so the best way would be to get her to call you from another phone.
  • Give her options for dealing with bullies, such as walking away or telling the kid to stop. If that doesn’t work, discuss a persistent bully with your child’s teacher.
  • It is very important that your child is toilet-trained before she starts school. She should be able to tell loud and clear when she needs to go to the bathroom. It will save the child from embarrassment.
  • Encourage a child to articulate her needs and communicate her discomfort or distress to a third person.
  • Do not force your child to learn English for school-going purposes. The most important thing is that your child should be able to communicate fluently and without hesitation. If she does so in her mother tongue, that is just fine. Your child needs to learn her mother tongue as well. She will pick up English in school soon enough.

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