Because my children have been “daycare kids” since they were toddlers, I thought entering Grade 1 would be a breeze. Whether it’s school or daycare, any potential anxiety is simply about being away from mom and dad for the day, right? Wrong.
Starting Grade 1 often means a big transition — for your child, and for you. After having now introduced two kids into Grade 1, here are some tips I wish I'd known a few years ago.
With meals eaten in the school gym with the rest of the school, kids get distracted, and lunches return half-eaten.
Tip: Pack bento box-style lunches, with small portions of foods you know your child can eat quickly.
Kids are expected to learn more independently and sit still longer. There are also fewer toys in Grade 1, and shorter play time.
Tip: Spend time during the summer, even 10 or 15 minutes at a time, going through exercises in a first-grade workbook or helping your child sound out words in a beginner’s reader.
Students need to take responsibility for their stuff. The school lost and found is notoriously packed with everything from “indoor shoes,” to knapsacks, sweaters, lunch boxes and hats.
Tip: Start getting your child to take responsibility for his stuff while he is on summer vacation. Get him to pack things in his knapsack for an outing, and then unpack and put his stuff away when he gets home.
Kids free time is less structured, without organized activities on the playground or special seating arrangements at lunch.
Tip: Ask your child about who he sat with at lunch, and what he did on the playground. If you find that he’s been sitting alone or is scared to ask someone to play, try role-playing how he can ask another child to join in a game.
Starting school can be stressful, even for a child who tends to be confident and good in new situations.
Tip: Talk about your own experiences starting school and keep bringing up school casually in conversations for several weeks before school starts. Comments shouldn’t be emotionally charged: don’t give overzealous pep talks or overwork possible problems that could arise.
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners