A young girl reading out her essay in front of the class

A new school or class can be stressful for your child, but as a parent, there are ways to support your child to make the change smoothly.

While it can be hard to adjust to a new place, it helps to have parental involvement to assure your child that he or she is not alone. Ask your child to share his or her apprehensions, feelings and concerns.

Related: Cultivating Healthy Habits in Your Pre-school Child

Transition to Primary and Secondary School

Starting primary school can be daunting, as your child will not only meet new teachers and classmates, but also shift from a less structured environment to one with subject-based learning and a fixed timetable.

Subsequently, when your child enters secondary school, do expect longer school hours with more time and commitment required for Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs).

As a parent, you can make a difference by preparing your child in these areas:

1. Making Early Preparations

 Woman tucking in her chlid in bed

On the night before the first day of school, help your child prepare for school by packing the school bag and uniform together with him or her. Ensure your child sleeps in early to have enough rest for the new day.

Related: Entering Primary School—Growing Up Healthily in School

2. Being Proficient in Language

Father reading a book with his son and daughter

Read to and with your child, as independent reading helps build language fluency. Reading together is also a meaningful way to bond with your child. A strong command of language builds an important foundation for academic success and allows your child to avoid having any miscommunication with teachers and other students.

Related: Books for Your Growing Child (Toddler and Pre-schooler)

3. Able to Make Purchases

A woman giving her child pocket money

Your child should be able to make purchases independently. For instance, he or she should be able to place an order for food, make payment, ensure that the correct change is received, and to return used plates and cutlery after eating.

Related: Raising a Resilient Child

4. Choosing Healthy Food

Healthy snacks for recess

At school, rest assured that your child will have healthy food choices with the Healthy Meals in Schools Programme (HMSP). As this may be the first time your child can choose what food to buy, ask him or her to opt for healthier options, like choosing to eat fruit and nuts instead of chips for a snack.

The food choices made by your child today impacts not only current but also his or her future health, as eating habits developed during the formative years can follow your child into adulthood.

Related: More School Canteens Serving Healthy Food

5. Going to the Toilet Independently

Signs of toilet

Make sure your child knows how to find a toilet, go to the toilet independently and if in doubt, who to ask for help. Prepare your child by encouraging them to go to public toilets on his or her own before school starts.

Related: Starting School: Preparing your child

6. Learning to Pack and Organise Things

Young girl packing her bag for school

Children need to learn how to take care of their own belongings at home and at school. Teach them how to pack and prepare for school the night before. This is also a good opportunity to teach habits of personal responsibility and ownership.

Related: Going to school: practical tips

7. Establishing a Routine

​​A young girl sleeping in bed while hugging her bear

Set up a school week routine which includes time for school work and rest. The routine does not need to be a complicated one, and allow your child to settle into the routine at a pace that is comfortable for him or her. Whether your child will be walking to school or taking public transport, help him or her to plan the route or go on a dry run.

Finally, should you need to check in on your child’s progress at school, connect with the teachers. Even better, volunteer with the school. It is a great way to show your child that you take an interest in his or her education, and you may also gain a better understanding of the school environment and your child’s school activities.

As parents, your presence and support can make a whole lot of difference during your child’s transition period and will go a long way to make the school experience a pleasant and positive one. Remember, while your child has embarked on the formal schooling journey, parents remain your child’s first and closest teachers in life.

Related: Cultivating Healthy Habits in Your Pre-school Child


Read these next: