Back to school: How to help your child prepare for a new school year

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By Divya Gokulnath

A child, starting a new school year, can be a bundle of nerves. Leaving behind the familiarity of his/her classroom and favourite teachers and starting over with greater responsibilities accompanied by a thrill of new learning opportunities. Your child might not say it out loud, but you can sense a hint of hesitation and uneasiness as the day to get back to school comes closer. These small hurdles could affect a child’s learning abilities, but a little conscious intervention could ensure it doesn’t become a mental block towards new learning experiences. Here are a few ways to help prepare your kids get back to the new session at school and become conscientious learners.

Beyond traditional learning

A happy learner is not a myth. Learning is a continuously growing process that needs to undergo change with the transgression of time. What worked for you as a child might not be applicable to your children in this day and age. You should look beyond what textbooks have to offer and engage with your child to stimulate critical thinking, creativity, and cognitive skills. You can do so by engaging them in real life experiences, practical problem-solving, and through technological aids.

Make room for mistakes

In the process of shielding children from failure and hurt, parents tend to become overprotective. Identify their core strengths and ask them to work on it. The idea is to let them discover subjects that they have an inclination towards and further build on it. Do not penalise them for not scoring well, rather sit with them and talk about ways to develop a stronghold on the same. Your role as a guardian is to make room for mistakes and help them get through it. Let them fall down and get hurt once in a while, that’s the only way to learn.

Preserve their inpiduality

Children usually get lost trying to find their passion and being different from the crowd. It is essential that you remind them that life is bigger than marks and numbers. They need to be taught how to strike a balance between their studies and other interests. You have to consistently channel the idea that the real competition is not their peers but their own selves.

Bring back the routine

A long break from school tends to break the set routine of a child. It is vital to get your child back to a healthy routine of sleeping and eating on time. Research continues to show that irregular sleep patterns can lead to irritability and anxiety amongst children, whereas regular bed timings result in better mental health and school performance. Create a schedule with balanced sleep, study, and play hours for your child to follow a week in advance of school re-opening.

Interactive engagement

Technology has been able to facilitate active engagement for children throughout their day. You can adopt ways that can make learning interactive and fun. One of the reasons children don’t look forward to school is the monotony that accompanies it. To counter this, you can seek help of the various personalised and effective learning tools available online which will create curiosity and interest in the child’s mind. This will not only make them more aware but also create a healthy learning environment.

Take care of yourself

In the midst of prepping your child for a new year at school, please don’t forget to take some time out for yourself. Your physical and mental wellbeing is as important as your child’s. In order to create a positive and well-balanced environment for your child’s growth, it is essential that you keep yourself first not just today but every other day!

So, just like mothers, school is a vital institution that facilitates a child’s growth and learning. No one better than a mother to help fight a child’s first day blues when starting a new year at school.

(The writer is a teacher and Co-founder, BYJU’S.)