4 tips to help your child settle into school

Transitioning to school is one of the biggest steps your children take on their journey through childhood. The routines change, the faces they see each day change, the clothes and shoes change … Even their play equipment and games seem new and different. Some children adapt to all the ‘new’ things with ease, yet for others, settling into school can take longer.

As parents and caregivers, one of the most heart-breaking things can be when your child doesn’t seem to be settling into school life as quickly and easily as you had hoped. Rest assured there are lots of things you can do to help them. Speaking as someone (a teacher and a mother) with many years’ experience, be patient. You child will get there.

Try these tips to help a child settle into school.

Routine, routine, routine

To help your child settle into school, ensure you are establishing good routines. Speak positively about school and have clear routines so the day is predictable for your child.

Sometimes it is the unknown that is the scariest part for your child. Talk a little about what will be happening during the day.

Sometimes a small treat in their lunchbox gives them something to look forward to at lunch time.

Ensure your child has a good sleep pattern as things seem more challenging when children are overtired.

Consistent drop off and pick up

Another critical element to settling into school is to have a very clear drop-off and pick-up routine.

It is unlikely to help your child if you linger around the classroom in the morning. It is difficult to walk away from your child when they are crying or distressed. However, prolonging your goodbye will only make it worse.

Be assured that the teaching professionals you’ve entrusted your children to will take good care of your precious child. Teachers will call you if your child doesn’t settle, so know they won’t be distressed all day.

Engaging the support of school staff will also help your child to settle. Classroom teachers, teacher aides, counsellors, deputy principals and many other school staff have a depth of experience in supporting children to transition.

There are numerous strategies that can be employed from being the ‘teacher’s helper’, to distraction from the sadness around leaving Mum or Dad, or being given an ‘important job’. Giving your child a photo of the family for their pocket can also prove helpful in the early days so they don’t feel so far away.

Stay positive

Focus on the positives and celebrate the small successes. This will assist your child to settle into school. Instead of asking “How was your day?” ask “What was the best thing that happened today?” There is a lot of research around positive psychology and mindset that suggests by changing your vocabulary slightly will make a big difference to your young people.

One step at a time

Acknowledge school can be a challenging time, but is part of your child’s journey. Take it one day at a time and seek support from your network (Tim Tams and tissues with other parents after school drop off work a treat!)

Your child will survive and thrive. One step at a time and before you know it, they will be settled into school and moving onto the next stage!

This article was written by Mrs Jodie Hayat, Deputy Head of Primary School — Curriculum and Pedagogy, Immanuel Lutheran College

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Written by Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City

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