Make the most out of the last days of summer by preparing your child (and yourself!) for the new school year. Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Prepare everything your child will need. Angeline Lyn Chua-Rodriguez, a researcher/analyst, says she and her husband have included buying their four-year-old daughter Bella’s school supplies, books, and other necessary items in their “getting-ready-for-school” checklist.
Save yourself from unnecessary stress by preparing your child’s school needs in advance.
2. Teach your child the basics. Mia Mae Porras, a preschool teacher, is preparing her son, Eze, who is 3 years and 7 months old, for his first day of school by teaching him basic things like prayers, the alphabet, colors and the use of “magic” words like “please” and “thank you.”
“Eze will be studying in a Catholic school so it won’t be hard for him to memorize his prayers,” she explains. “I already introduced him to the alphabet and letter sounds. He learned primary colors before he turned two.”
Mia also encourages Eze to “exercise” his hands by playing with play dough. “He also practices holding a jumbo pencil and tracing dotted lines,” she adds.
3. Review past lessons and browse through new ones. If this is not the first time for your child to go to school, you can refresh his memory and “prep” his mind by reviewing past lessons. “We review Bella’s old textbooks and notebooks,” Angeline shares. “We also browse through her new books.”
4. Come up with a routine. Establishing a routine — one that your child will be following once school starts — is crucial in making the back-to-school transition smoother and easier. Mia shares how their routine is:
“We have had a morning routine and a night routine for Eze since he turned 1. So, he's actually used to sleeping early and waking up early.
“We start and end our day with a prayer. We also ‘interact’ with ‘Mr. Sun’ and ‘Mrs. Moon,’ so that he knows the difference between night and day, and knows that there is a time for everything.”
For Angeline, part of coming up with a back-to-school routine is “changing the sleeping pattern” to make sure Bella gets enough sleep.
Mari Pabro Salvilla, an online seller and mom to Gwen, 6, and Stefani, 5, also sees the importance of establishing a daily routine. “As early as now, we already have a 'routine' that can help us for this school year,” she shares.
“We have come up with a schedule for the kids’ weekdays — from the time they wake up to their sleeping time,” Mari continues. “We have a certain time within the day when we randomly review their past lessons.”
“We also incorporate lessons in their play time, in the hopes of helping them get back to the 'groove' of studying again.”
5. Encourage independence. Doing things on their own is one of the “skills” parents should teach their kids in preparation for school. If your child can do things independently, he/she will not have to rely so much on his/her teachers.
“We're trying to teach the kids to be a little more independent with things like climbing the stairs by themselves but holding on to the railings, opening their own snacks and drinks, throwing their trash in the right place,” shares Jade-Ceres Dolor-Munoz, director of operations and owner of Little Beans Baby Store.
Encouraging your child to be independent will also help boost his/her self-confidence.
6. Read together. Jade also says that reading books together on a daily basis is part of their kids’ preparation for going back to school.
This makes perfect sense, since the U.S. National Education Association actually states that reading to your child daily and talking about what you’ve read will help your child be “academically ready for school.” This especially applies to kids who are of preschool age.
7. Establish safety rules and reminders. When your child is in school, he should know how to stay safe. With numerous news reports of child kidnapping and other crimes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Review your family’s rules and reminders about safety and “stranger danger” with your child.
“I'm actually thinking about setting a ‘password’ for us, similar to that viral post I saw on the Internet,” Mia shares.
8. Take advantage of trial classes. Most schools offer trial classes so that parents and children can try out what it’s like to be in a particular school. Usually held during summer or the first week of classes, this can be one way for you to prepare your child for going to school.
Jade had her three-year-old daughter Jellybean take trial classes “to see if this [going to school] is something that she really wants to do.”
“Her school also has a Headstart program to prepare young kids for the upcoming school year, so we've also enrolled her in that class,” she adds.
Mia also did the same thing for Eze. “I had him sit in one of my co-teachers’ summer classes, because I wanted to see if he'll have separation anxiety or not,” she shares. “So far, so good. He opened the classroom door, went inside, sat there quietly and did what was asked of him.”
Although there is no sure “formula” for making your child’s back-to-school transition 100% smooth, we hope that these tips will serve their purpose — that of making your child’s school life a whole lot easier.
Remember, when you prepare your child properly for important “life changes” — such as the opening of school, you’ve already won half the “battle.” In the words of Confucius:
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.”