Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Getting ready for primary school can be a stressful time for both parents and their children. Here are some ways that you can help and prepare your child for his/her new milestone in his/her life.
Educating them about being independent
From a young age, children will always rely on their parents to do things. However, as they grow older, independence is an important skill that must be taught to them, and it should start from when they are young. Parents can bring their children to their school before their first day to familiarise them with the route that they will be taking daily to foster independence in them. Additionally, allowing them to order their own food outside and paying for it is also another way to prepare them for primary school. Although there will be buddy systems in primary school, whereby the upper primary students will be buddied up with primary one students to make them more comfortable in school and guide them during recesses, the primary one students will still need to practice how to do so outside.
Building financial literacy
Financial literacy is required as the children will need to learn how to count money and also the concept of money. With this skill set, children will be able to pay for food in the canteen or anything that catches their eyes in the bookshops. Here are a few ways to build their financial literacy.
Parents can set up a game at home that uses real money to pay for items that they can sell (toys, sweets or drinks) and quote prices for these items. Children upon seeing the items being sold will then have to take out the appropriate amount to pay for the items that they want.
Parents can also expose them to the different types of bills and coins, and their values respectively, by having a memory game for them to match the amount of money to the values written on flashcards.
Safety is priority
Teaching the children about being safe both outside and inside of the school is very important. In school, they will be protected by teachers and school personnel. However, the teacher to student ratio will now be larger as compared to kindergarten, so children will have to learn what’s right and wrong to keep themselves safe. Children are also very influenceable, hence they can pick up things easily from what they see in the media or their surroundings. By teaching them what’s right and wrong, they will learn how to control what they do outside to keep both themselves and everyone around them safe.
Communication is key
In school, when in doubt, they can always ask the people around them like their teachers or the school personnel for assistance. Sometimes they may be lost in school as it’s only their first year, so they should know that it is alright to ask people around them for guidance.
Also, communicating with new classmates is another way to make friends. Transiting from kindergarten, they will be facing a larger class size and more people from their level. They will have to learn to open up and get to know the people around them in order to make good friends who will be there for their journey in primary school. Parents can help their children by signing them up into playgroups and allowing them to socialise with more children in their age group. This can teach them to be more open in making new friends when it is time for them to go into primary school.
Inculcate good reading habits from young
Nurturing good reading habits is of high importance. Reading can not only expand their vocabulary but also their attention span. In primary school, children will be taught more about literacy skills. There is also silent reading in school which encourages students to spend 30 to 45 minutes in the morning reading before the start of their lessons. It is important that they cultivate this habit at home before entering primary school. Parents can do so by reading together with them every night before they sleep or purchasing books that pique their interests. With curiosity, children will have a higher tendency to enjoy what they are reading and slowly make this a habit of theirs to read.
Teach them to have a longer attention span
In schools, lessons usually last for 30 to 60 minutes. Parents can help to elongate their kids’ attention span by having some rules at home such as giving them only one task to do at each time, instead of giving them many activities that they can choose to do. If many activities are given, they may turn into distractions and hinder them from learning how to focus on a task given. The task given can be reading or arts and crafts or learning an instrument. Also, during mealtime, children should learn to sit at the dining table and focus on completing their meals without any devices shown to them. Using cartoons or shows to keep them at the dining table will give them the idea that in schools, they will be given some form of entertainment to keep them at their desks. Hence, it is better to avoid devices at the dining table if possible.
Children will have to learn to be responsible for looking after their own things. In the event that they lose something, parents will have to teach them to be accountable for what they lost. Going to primary school, they will have to learn how to take care of their own belongings as teachers will not be doing so for them. Parents can help by giving them tasks to do at home. Tasks such as looking after a green bean plant or having a pet insect will help them learn to be responsible by remembering to water the plant daily or feeding the pet daily. The children must also know the consequences if they fail to do so. This will make them understand what it means to be responsible for the things they have.
Children will have to learn to be organised as it can help them set enough time to complete their homework and to play. Parents can make daily to-do lists for them to follow. For example, they can have a to-do list for the night before school, such as to pack their bags, put their pocket money into their wallets, fill up their water bottles, etc. In the long run, it will be beneficial as they will always have the habit of making to-do lists, being more organised and essentially managing their time in the future.
Be encouraging and interested in their day-to-day activity in school
Parents can ask their children about their school and what they did in school. By allowing them to talk about their day in school, be it the fun or ‘scary’ experiences that they faced can make them be more open towards their parents and know that their parents will always have their backs. If they do face any challenging situations, parents can run through the steps to overcome these challenges with them to allow them to feel more confident to conquer other challenges that they may face the next day in school.