School is officially in full swing, how is your child doing?

5 behaviours your P1 child could show

#1: “My child has separation anxiety!”
If your child is:

  • Crying in school.
  • Refusing to go to school and making excuses to stay at home.
  • Refusing to sleep knowing that they will have to wake up the next day to go to school.
  • Complaining of physical sickness like headache or stomachache.
  • Clinging to their main caregiver (parents or other).

How you can help:

  • Don’t leave without saying good-bye to your child as it could break their trust in you.
  • When it’s time to go, make sure you leave promptly. Dragging out a long farewell might reinforce to your child that the school isn’t a good place.
  • Associate the good-bye with good memories by waving at your child and making funny faces or smiling broadly.

#2: “My child has attention problems!”

If your child is:

  • Not able to attend to tasks (e.g. makes careless mistakes, is unable to sustain focus)
  • Suffering from motor overactivity (e.g. fidgets, has difficulty playing quietly)
  • Impulsive (e.g. blurts out answers and interrupts others constantly).

How you can help:

  • Follow a routine at home (there should also be a routine at school).
  • Keep rules clear and simple, give reminders calmly.
  • Give your child only one or two instructions at a time.
  • Praise your child when they do something appropriate.
  • Supervise your child closely – their hyperactivity means that they can easily put themselves in dangerous situations.
  • Ignore minor irritating behaviours.
  • Be clear about discipline for behaviour you find unacceptable. For younger children, try implementing times out. For older children, impose logical consequences

#3: “My child is overly shy and quiet.”

If your child is:

  • Withdrawn and quiet.
  • Apparently having trouble making friends.
  • Stressed or anxious.
  • Unwilling to attempt new things.
  • Finding difficulty in studying and concentrating in school.

How you can help:
Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre says, “It is normal for children to take 2-3 weeks to get use to a new transition. During these times, the above symptoms are normal and acceptable. However, if this is coupled with intense distress and fear then it may be a sign of more indepth issues.”

  • Be patient, reassuring and comforting
  • Talk to your child to understand his problems
  • Help the child to resolve it through learning new skills
  • Model positive behaviour for your child and practice behaviours one-on-one with your child, and suggest that they try to make friends one by one, before trying yo join a bigger group.

#4: “My child is overly demanding and bossy.”

If your child is:

  • Telling their friends what to do all the time.
  • Unable to take instructions or handle disappointments
  • Reacting to disappointment by bursting into tears or yelling “I hate you!”
  • Starting to throw tantrums <Link to SP article on tantrums>
  • Refusing to listen to others or co-operate with others

How you can help:
Koh suggests the following tips,

  • Teach your child the kind of good behaviour that you want, through learning and discussion. Reinforce good behaviour with praises.
  • Ignore negative behaviour and only respond when positive behaviour is used.
  • Be consistent in reinforcing good behaviour for change to happen.

#5: “My child is adjusting well in school.”

If your child is:

  • Following a routine easily.
  • Making and keeping friends.
  • Demonstrating their ability to take instructions from teachers.
  • Communicating with ease.
  • Gets along with others.
  • Eating on their own.
  • Taking part in class and activities.
  • Happy and excited to go to school and equally happy to talk to you about what he does in school.

Then relax a little and be happy!

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