How your child adapts to Primary school may depend on their character, says Cecilia Leong, who conducts emotional intelligence workshops for children. If the child is adaptable, the change in environment and teachers will be easier to take.
She adds, “If your child makes friends slowly, assure them that it is all right to take their time to get to know their classmates and that it is all right to feel a bit scared or nervous at times.”
Above all, reassure your child that they will find Primary school a fun and positive experience. Share anecdotes of when you were in school and the friends you made ― point out that “I met Aunty Shirley when I went to Primary One and we are good friends even today!” and let them know that they can expect to make wonderful friends, too.
You can encourage your child in his adaptation to school in other ways too:
• Know your child’s style of learning Use your child’s dominant learning style ― there are, visual, auditory, verbal and kinaesthetic ― to boost his understanding of subjects. Most children digest concepts better when you use objects to demonstrate how it works. Leong says, “My daughter is a strong auditory learner and I reinforced the multiplication tables by asking her to recite it during car rides.”
• Give them free time This could mean exploring the plants in the patio, helping with housework, doodling or painting, or simply day dreaming. Remember that learning comes in many forms and, like adults, kids need down-time to recharge.
• Create a positive learning attitude Don’t speak badly of your child’s teacher in front of them. They listen to their teachers in the classroom, so if they form a negative opinion of their teacher, their learning experience will be compromised.
• Give responsibility Ensure that your child knows what homework they have and that completing it is their responsibility. Most schools provide a homework journal, so there’s no question they’ll forget when their homework is due.
• Teach consequences If your child does not do their homework, they need to face the consequences. Don’t whip out your pencil and do it for them — you are denying them the chance to learn an important lesson.