How to prepare for the beginning of the school year?
The period of carefree adventures, spending time with friends, going to bed late and getting up without the alarm clock is slowly coming to an end. We say goodbye to the holidays, the sea, mountains and the countryside, and start preparing for the beginning of the new school year. The school calendar brings a number of activities: the first day of school, new responsibilities, hanging out with old and new friends, getting used to a new schedule, etc.
Whether your child is starting the first grade or is an experienced student already, whether they are looking forward to the beginning of the school year or dreading it, one thing is certain – the beginning of a new school year is a great change in a child’s life.
This is even more true if your child is starting school for the first time and needs to get used to a completely new environment and organization, but it also applies to older children who already go to school, or who are switching schools. Starting the next grade or the first day at a new school brings new academic challenges.
In conclusion: it is not easy to return to the normal everyday routine after summer vacation.
This is why mid-August is the right time to start preparing your child for the beginning of the new school year. It is important to know that these preparations won’t rob your child of the last days of their summer vacation, but help them prepare for the new school year.
We would like to introduce simple tips to help your child prepare for the new school year as best as possible, and to get through this period with as little stress as possible.
8 tips to prepare your primary school child for the new school year
The following tips will help prepare your child to say goodbye to summer vacation and start the new school year with enthusiasm.
1. Prepare your child for early mornings
One of the most important requirements for the proper development of a child is a good night’s sleep. Being well-rested impacts your child’s mood, learning capacity and their general psychophysical condition. Some studies claim that, depending on their age, children need 9 to 11 hours of sleep.
During vacation, children will naturally stay up longer in the evenings and get up later, instead of going to bed earlier like they do when they go to school. Summer vacation is a long period and children’s bodies get used to this new sleep schedule.
Going back to school, getting up early and going to bed on time may be stressful unless the child returns to it gradually. The last month of summer vacation is an ideal time to slowly start preparing your primary school student to go back to their “school” sleep regime.
Begin by sending your child to bed and waking them up half an hour earlier, and then gradually increase it. This way they will have gotten fully accustomed to going to bed earlier and getting up in time for school by September 1st. By doing this they won’t be stressed due to a lack of sleep, but keen to face new school challenges.
2. Take your child shopping for school supplies, books and clothes.
To prepare for the beginning of next school year, parents need to purchase school supplies, books, etc. In addition, depending on the child’s age and their capabilities, many parents use the beginning of the school year as an opportunity to renew a child’s wardrobe.
This is also an opportunity to plan a nice day out, or a few of them that you can spend together with your child. Go shopping together, and allow your child to have a say in the choice of school supplies, and clothes, of course, taking the quality, functionality and price into account. Provide them advice, but allow them to choose the design they want. Children should actively participate in their education, because that way, they will have the impression that they are in control of the process, and will consequently be more open to it.
Let your child experience shopping as a reward and a nice experience to mark the beginning of the school year, because that way, they will develop positive feelings toward school and everything that awaits them.
3. Introduce your child to everything that awaits them in the next grade
Each next grade introduces new courses, content and responsibilities. If you find an appropriate way to explain all that to them before the beginning of the school year, they will experience school as an adventure and will be eager to start learning new things.
So, talk to them about what awaits them: maybe new and interesting subjects, new teachers, or new classrooms.
When you do this, try to pick their curiosity and awaken their joy about the upcoming adventure. Don’t try to intimidate them with the weight of new responsibilities and expectations. Although each grade places new demands on a child, the best way for them to master these demands is to welcome them with curiosity and anticipation. So, try to find a positive angle to introduce your child to everything that awaits them in the next grade.
4. Discuss their schedule
Returning to school means a new daily schedule for your child. Research shows that primary school students are most efficient when they have a precisely defined daily schedule to follow.
Talk to your child about how much time they will spend doing homework every day and which part of the day will be reserved for homework. In addition, agree on their free time that they can spend doing things they enjoy. This is a period when children form work habits that will help them through the entire course of their education, and throughout their life.
5. Create an after-school plan of activities
A good way to motivate your child is to give them time to play and have fun after they’ve completed all their obligations. Although we are talking about their free time, it doesn’t mean that you should let a child think how to fulfill it on their own. Even when they are playing and having fun, children need structure.
You can create an after-school plan of activities together with your child. It may involve going to a friend’s house, for a walk, to the park, sport’s practice, etc. It is important that the child knows that a well-deserved award awaits them after fulfilling all their obligations. This way, they will perform their school activities with much more enthusiasm.
6. Stimulate your child’s mental activity
During the long summer months, the main priority of every child is: play, play and more play, and that is perfectly natural. However, due to the length of summer vacation, children often lose their learning dynamics, and research shows that there is even a decline in knowledge. Experts warn that during summer vacation, children forget things they learned in the previous school year which took them months to learn.
The good news is that this can be prevented. Don’t worry, you won’t have to wrestle with your child to spend time doing homework instead of going to the swimming pool. It will only take ten minutes of your time to interest them in educational games that can be played on the beach, at the pool, on a mountain, or anywhere else. These games have been proven to reduce knowledge loss by 66,7%, but above all, they will unobtrusively train your child’s brain, thus allowing them to stay in shape and be ready for the new school year.
7. Design their study corner together
If your child still doesn’t have a study corner, choose an appropriate place in your house and arrange it together. It should be a quiet place without many distractions where they can concentrate on their homework or studying. Also, the study corner must be pleasant and comfortable. Allow them to add details that mean something to them. Go shopping for a desk and chair together and allow them to decorate the corner with a poster of their favorite cartoon character or anything else they like, if they want to. It is simple, they must feel comfortable in their study corner, but they also must feel that it is their space, and that they had a say in designing it.
If your child already has a study corner, it would be a good idea to refresh it with new details such as: school supplies, objects that have a special meaning for them, etc. Make sure that there are no toys in the study corner, because that way, you risk turning the study corner into a play area.
8. Re-establish their study routine
The last days of summer vacation are an ideal time to re-establish a child’s study routine. This is done by encouraging them to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, as well as to have lunch and snacks at a similar time as they do in school. In addition, a week before the beginning of the new school year, you can plan outdoor activities that require the child to leave the house and return at a similar time like they do during the school year. This way, when the school year finally begins, your child will be rested, refreshed and prepared for new challenges.
The beginning of the school year for first-graders
Experts believe that the first days at school have an impact on how a child will experience learning later in life. Simply put, students who associate school with positive experiences achieve better results and have a positive attitude toward learning. On the other hand, children whose first taste of school did not go so well face difficulties throughout their education.
The beginning of primary school is a beautiful and exciting event in the life of every first-grader. However, it is also the child’s first encounter with a completely new environment, which is always stressful.
A good primary school will make sure that the first day of school becomes an unforgettable and positive experience for your child, but you as a parent can also help your child to go through this memorable period as smoothly as possible.
Introduce your child to the school
If your child is starting school, one of the best ways to help them get used to the new environment is to familiarize them with their new school before the school year begins. Good schools organize family days where teachers spend time with parents and their new students. This way, the child will have the opportunity to meet their future teachers, and probably their future classmates as well. All this will make the first days of school much easier, reduce stress and greatly shorten the adjustment period.
After the family day, you can take your child to a place they like to go to such as: the pool, a playroom, or for ice-cream. This way, your child will associate going to school with positive and pleasant experiences, and they will look forward to spending time at school, which is very important for their later education.
Introduce your child to their teacher
To help your child get used to the idea of going to school, it would be good to introduce them to their future teacher in advance. To do this, you don’t actually have to take the child to school, because teachers are usually very busy in this period preparing for the new school year, and besides, there will be plenty of time for introductions when the school year begins.
However, you can prepare them by telling them that instead of their preschool teacher, they will have a new teacher from September, and that he/she is nice and kind, and will make sure that everyone learns and advances. This way, a child will know what to expect, and will perhaps start nurturing positive emotions toward their teacher. Once the school year begins, a child will have the impression that they already know the teacher, because they have heard so much about him/her. Don’t worry if you don’t know who your child’s teacher will be, you just need to prepare them and develop a positive attitude toward school.
Play with your child
Children learn best through play, and this especially applies to preschool children. This is why one of the best ways to prepare your preschooler for what awaits them in primary school is to play school with them at home. This is a game you should play every day, and to make it as efficient as possible, you should repeat it every day at the same time to help your child get used to the school schedule.
When you play this game, don’t just focus on classroom experiences, but try to recreate the school experience in its entirety: from getting up, getting dressed, getting to school, attending classes, having lunch. Your child will directly experience what awaits them in school, so when the time comes to prepare for their first day of school, they will be on familiar ground. This will also give you a chance to see if your child struggles with any aspect of going to school and work with them on it.
And finally, a piece of advice for you:
Don’t overdo it! The point of these preparations is to make it easier for a child, and to help them adapt to their new schedule and responsibilities, not to make them sick of school before it even begins. Also, don’t let the preparations rob your child of their summer vacation.
Don’t overload your child with information about school and the new school year, but help them to experience the beginning of the semester gradually, naturally and in a stress-free atmosphere.
Some children look forward to the beginning of the new school year and reuniting with their classmates, whereas others are sad about the end of their summer vacation and the time without responsibilities. Whether your child is looking forward to the new school year, or dreading it, you can help them prepare for their return to class, making the beginning of the new school year a stress-free and cheerful event.