Overcoming a bad first week of school

The first week of school can be quite daunting for any child. If your child had a bad first week of school, then maybe these 10 tips can help to ensure that their second week of school will be a whole lot better.

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It is time for school again and for many children this means a new school, new class or new teachers. Starting school again after the long end-of-year break can be especially daunting when they are in a completely new environment.

Change is inevitable and while some children will be able to make the transition smoothly, others might not. If your child had a rough start to the school year, it’s not unusual and there is no cause for alarm. Your child was not alone. We’re here to help with our top 10 tips for overcoming a bad first week of school.

We conducted a poll on our Facebook page to hear from parents what their child’s first day of school was like.

Here are some of the comments we received:

Marvann Tong : “I’ve 3 boys, youngest started pre nursery, 2nd boy in primary 5 & my eldest in secondary 1. They all did very well on their day. Mummy was super tired though. I started my day at 5.30am. Watched my boy go up the school bus at 6.15, walked my eldest to his new school to give him moral support and finally accompanied my youngest to his pre nursery and spent the hour with him. Lunch with youngest, then we went to fetch my eldest. Sent them home, my youngest catch a nap and I went off to fetch my 2nd boy. By the time I got home, it’s 4pm. The day just flew by!! Life of a SAHM”

Sue Othman: “lol! i have to ‘drag’ him…n thank God!! he’s ok now…but funny..when i ‘tata’ him…he’s avoiding me….n the moment i left…he yelled..”mummy!!u dont love me anymore…”~sigh…~”

Jeslyn Choo: “Terrible! Non stop crying. So heart pain.”

Katrina Bte Rosli: “She was a good sport! Smiling and happily walking to school!! Thank God!”

Mastura Uruc: “My girl said she missed me yesterday  it was her first day in P1”

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So be reassured, not all kids adjust well on their first day back at school. It’s perfectly normal. We’ve put together some tips to help you ease your child back into school if (s)he has been experiencing difficulties in the first week of school.

Top 10 tips

1. Let them feel in charge

Change can be scary even for an adult and a new school year often brings major changes. It’s little wonder that your child might be particularly anxious during the first week of school. According to an article on the Canadianliving website, Brent MacLeod, principal of John Wanless Junior Public School in Toronto recommends giving your child a sense of control by reminding them how they adapted successfully to changes in the past. “Make him feel he has control of it [the new situation],” he says.

2. Ask your child

The simplest solution can also be the best solution. Simply ask your child about the difficulties faced during school so you gain a clearer picture of the situation. Ask and listen. Don’t jump in with solutions. Let your child talk. Listen with a neutral tone. Don’t judge or try to solve the problem immediately.

3. Talk to the teachers

Teachers are probably the best people to approach since your child will be spending a large amount of time with them. Teachers might be able to help solve any problems your child is facing in school. See teachers as partners in your child’s learning journey. Enroll them to your cause. Let them know what interests your child and how they can help.

4. Share your own experiences

Share with your child your own experiences of the first few weeks of school so that they know that such problems are not unique to them but are in fact quite common. Problems such as difficulties in making friends or not being used to the new timetable are also experienced by others. They should not feel like they are the only one experiencing difficulty. Let them know that others are in the same boat without diminishing the importance of their problem.

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5. Teach your child social skills

According to an article by FamilyFirst Psychological Services, Kelly H. Theis, a licensed clinical psychologist advises parents to teach their children basic social skills. Some essential skills to make friends include smiling, identifying a common topic and joining extra-curricular activities. Create opportunities for your child to interact with other children in a safe environment so they learn social skills through play. Allow your child to solve their own problems without your help.

6. Help your child make friends

Kelly H. Theis also suggests that parents can play a part in helping your kid make friends. One good idea she has raised include making friends with other parents of the school so you can help to introduce their child to yours. Another great suggestion is organising playdates with other kids.

7. Establish a healthy routine

According to an article on the kidshealth.org website, it is recommended that children are well rested before a long day at school. Establish a reasonable bedtime for your child. Also since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, make sure your child enjoys a big breakfast before setting off for school. With enough sleep and food, your child will probably feel more alert and be in a better mood at school.

8. Maintain consistency

Starting school again is a big change for your child. Try to maintain consistency in other parts of your child’s life, such as at home. For example, try to keep things such as bedtimes and family activities at home consistent.

9. Give it some time

Everyone, including adults need time to adjust to big changes. Do not feel too anxious if your child is not transitioning smoothly during the first week of school. Give them some time and they will be able to adapt to the new school environment in time.

10. Approach the school counsellor

If your child is still having major problems adjusting to school after quite some time, consider the option of approaching the school counsellor for help. The child may feel more comfortable talking to the counsellor rather than their teachers or parents.

Please take our poll below to share your experience with us…