Community & Service 16 Feb 2024

Tips to Help Your Child Have a Successful Start to School

By CIS Counsellors
Photograph by CIS Communications

Starting at a new school can be a stressful time for students and parents alike. Parents often wonder how involved they should be in the process and what they can do to best support their child. Here are just a few tips to help ensure your child has a great start to their academic journey!

Establish routine

Once school begins, prioritise getting your child back into a routine. Forming and familiarising oneself with routines can reduce anxiety in new environments and provide a sense of control and predictability over seemingly minor buy significant daily activities. This could look like having a regular time and place for your child to do their homework after school to limiting screen time for two to three hours before sleep in exchange for a relaxing activity. Getting a good night's sleep is as important for a 2-year old as it is for a 12 or 18-year old! Establishing such routines creates a daily rhythm and structure and makes going back to school less daunting.

Get to know your child’s teacher

Get to know your child’s teachers and express that you appreciate feedback on your child’s progress (both positive and negative). Do share if anything out of the ordinary at home may be impacting their learning or concentration. This helps preempt any potential issues and also allows your child’s teacher to better support them both socially and emotionally in the classroom. Find out how information is being communicated, such as through weekly class updates, the class bulletin board, or on My.CIS (where you will also be able to find your child’s teacher’s email address). This ensures that communication remains open between teacher and parent and you’ll always be up to date with events at school. Making an effort to know your child’s teachers will enable both parent and child to feel more at ease and integrated with the CIS community.

Show interest in your child’s day

Communication is especially important during periods of change as new experiences and environments can bring about strong emotions and self-reflection. Show interest in what happened during your child’s school day to help foster communication. Ask not only about what they did or learnt in class but also how they ‘feel’ about their new teacher, classmates and schedule. Don’t pressure them to talk– show interest and they will eventually share not only about events at school but also their feelings and perspectives during this transition period.

Get involved in the school community

Join the CIS Parent Teacher Association (PTA), sign up as a parent volunteer for different events, or both! Make sure to attend parent talks and meet-the-teacher or principal sessions. Being a “school player” allows you to tangibly participate in your child’s education, increase a sense of connection to their learning, and demonstrate to them how much you value and look to support their educational journey. Being involved in the school community will also provide opportunities to connect with other parents for mutual support as many children go through similar experiences adjusting to a new school environment.

Be compassionate to yourself

Last but not least, please understand that adjusting to a new environment is stressful for both children and adults. Be kind to yourself and do what you can to support them as parents. It is common for children to experience mild anxiety during the first days of school, nonetheless, please reach out to your child’s teacher or our school counsellors if this anxiety persists. We are experienced in providing guidance in such situations and will be more than willing to extend our help.

Best wishes for your new start at CIS!