As the new academic year sets in, it waits to be explored by your child. There are new goals to be achieved, new knowledge to be gained and new challenges to be faced.
One thing is certain. All children look for everything new… new books, new bags, new stationary etc. But does your child look forward to the new class which will bring a change in the classroom scenery? He/She will probably have new classmates, new teachers, new subjects etc.
Preparing your child for the new academic year is much more than equipping him/her with material requirements. If a child is not academically, socially and emotionally prepared, the disconcerting feeling may just last the whole year through.
Children often visualise about the year ahead based on the senior student’s experiences, which may be misleading and make your child anxious.
Some things to bear in mind when helping your child prepare for the fresh year…
• A higher class brings new challenges. Perhaps your child will be expected to do more homework or assignments. With fears of not measuring up academically, the best defence is a good offence. Getting organised and establishing reassuring routines can go a long way to making a child feel competent.
• Rumours of a particularly hard teacher may fuel fearing or disliking a new teacher. Do help your child keep in mind that one person’s dreaded teacher can also be another kid’s favourite. While it’s okay for your child to express his/her dislike of a teacher, he/she should be expected to remain respectful. You can encourage your child to be open-minded and approach this as an opportunity to help him/her learn how to deal with a person he/she finds difficult. Listen to his/her issues and plan to attend parent-teacher meetings to get your own take on the situation.
• A new class schedule can mean adjusting without friends, who have provided a social base in previous years. Try to present this as an opportunity for your child to widen his group of friends, rather than a tragic loss of familiar faces.
• If possible, get the class list and set up a play date before school starts, so that your child will have a new friend to look for on the first day. Establish time for him/her to catch up with old friends too.
• A new school or classroom may spark concerns about finding friends at all. An outside class or hobby such as dance or a sport can provide a conversation starter and the opportunity to meet kids outside your child’s usual circles. Talking to him/her about other challenging situations that he/she successfully navigated also boosts self-esteem.