A new school year often throws a huge challenge for parents- tantrums, tears, fuss and fears can make the whole experience a harrowing one. For those who are headed into the new school year we bring tips on how to handle tantrums, tears, fusses and fears without making a change of school a harrowing experience.

Here are some useful ideas to help parents handle this change well:

  • Make school sound like fun: Share your own positive memories of school-days, and also how you dealt with your own fears/ challenges in school. Create interest and curiosity for learning by reading stories from their text books.
  • Set routines: A week before school, gently start setting “school type” routines: earlier bed-time, shorter play time, waking up early etc.
  • Plan: Keep all school supplies handy -avoid last minute rush for uniforms, text books and stationary. Note down timetables, schedules etc before-hand. Attend any orientation programmes the school has to offer.
  • Keep less busy: The first few days of each school year can be a nerve-wracking experience especially for working parents. So free up your schedule- avoid out of town business trips and long hours. Unplanned events such as bus delays, haphazard school agendas are time consuming horrors! Also, more time will help you calmly acclimatize your child to the new environment.
  • A piece of home: Children usually feel secure carrying something familiar with them such as a family photo. Mummy can also put a small card with “Mummy loves you” in the tiffin box or give a hand drawn clock saying what time she will pick the child up. Such tiny things make the child (especially younger ones) feel secure and reassured.
  • Lastly, Remain positive: Instead of admonishing the child with “no crying today” use the travel time to the bus stop/school to get the child into the right frame of mind. Talk about what he will eat, to name his class friends etc. At school be firm but gentle. Keep goodbyes brief and don’t linger with the child.

And put on a happy face! Avoid guilt, over-sympathy and anxiety. Be confident about your child and he/she will pick up on it and follow it through!

Sending your child back to a new school year is like teaching a baby bird to fly. The right amount of care and patience can hugely influence your child’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically.

(Published in RobinAge, July 2009)