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How To Prepare Yourself For When Your Child Begins School

Updated on August 27, 2016
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The first time experience of attending school traumatizes many parents. Single mothers feel it the most because they stand alone during the experience; there is no one to hold their hands or to tell them, “Everything will be okay”. How does one prepare for when a child goes to school? What steps does one take to diminish the awful realization that your child will be going out into the school world? A place where you cannot be at all times to protect him from harm’s way. A place filled with varying good or bad experiences.

Parent And Child

Children are resilient souls. They seem to bounce back from new, bad, sad, and traumatic events faster than their parents. Hence, the persons in need of preparation for the school year are the parents. They are the ones who often feel the scar of public and private school battles. They are the ones who take longer to heal. But more importantly, when parents are better equipped for their children’s school year it means that their children will more likely to experience academic success. Hence, as parents prepare children prepare and the two become well adjusted.

A Support Group

The first groundwork level begins with joining or creating a support group. A-first-time-my-child-goes-to-school support group attempt to get as many mothers in the assembly as physically possible. Do not wait for a sit down gathering, create the collaboration as you meet other mothers. You become the chairperson and the recording secretary as you have conversations with mothers about their experiences, their responses and most importantly their survival mode. The more you work towards creating this club the more you learn the best approaches, and the what-not-to-does. It is best to have this association just as you realize your child will be attending school. This tactic gives you more time to adjust, incorporate and adapt to this new experience. Don’t be shy, approach as many mothers as possible and if an actually group materializes, rejoice for there is strength in numbers. You can call this support group the pre-PTA group.

School Options

Equipped with the suggestions from many mothers – experience, inexperience or just plain naiveté, it is time to decipher what will work best for your and yours. As recording secretary, begin mentally replaying some of the consistent statements. As you replay these conversations, you will find that the reoccurring testimonial declares that parents wished they had planned earlier for their children’s school age. In retrospect they felt early research might have prevented several bad school experiences. With this wisdom in hand it behooves you to start looking into all your child’s school options. Most schools are zone oriented. If you live in the area your child will attend the school in that area. Do you like the school in your area? If not, will you be able to move into a zone you do like? Financially, that might not be an option. The next best step is a move toward private schools. Many are not aware that private schools offer a certain percentage of scholarships for students within the community. Some private schools extend their scholarships nationally. Whatever you do, be sure and visit the schools that your child might possibly attend, even if it is just in a form of a drive by.

Volunteers Needed

Your hard work paid off, your child will attend a good school. On the other hand, your child will attend a zone school you do not like. Whatever the outcome, set aside time to volunteer yearly at the school your child attends. Your associated parents articulated, that making personal contact with the school had a pivotal role in their children’s academic success. Most schools need volunteers and welcome any offer of free aid. When you volunteer it need not be like working a 40 hour week, instead volunteer at least 4 hours a week or month. If you cannot volunteer check in with your family and ask someone to volunteer. Volunteers by nature of the type of work they do are privy to many of the schools procedures and hence, can quickly learn the many features, good or bad about a school. You or your family member will learn the best teachers and the ones who are just there for a paycheck. But most importantly you will develop a relationship with the staff, teachers and principals and that can go a long way when you wish to make particular petitions during your child’s school year.

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Notes On The Calendar

You now have an idea of the type of school your child will attend. Now you can begin to organize and develop habits for the academic success of your soon to be student. In your conversations with your group, many expressed because they did not lay the basic foundation for learning at home, their children took longer to adjust to school. Their children, they embarrassing explained, experienced many disciplinary actions. Hence, group members suggest the use of a calendar for further planning. Place a medium to large size calendar in an area of your home that you can reference on a daily bases. Whatever the location, begin to make deadline notations on the calendar. At this point the deadlines will not be the school’s they should be steps towards your personal goals. The first assignment - get yourself emotionally ready for the first day of school. Remind yourself there will be no heart wrenching sobs after the first drop off. You are to be brave at all times, after all you know what to expect. Next on the calendar, write, setting up a go to draw or cabinet for all of your child’s academic work, information and school policy booklet. Finally, create a checklist to keep you on track and at the top of this list write “tissue paper”, because regardless of how “ready”, or informed you are you will cry after the first drop off. It gets easier only after the third drop off.

After School Care

As a single mother another consideration for your checklist is after-school care. You work a 9 to 5 job and school lets out at 3 p.m. What arrangement can you make for this time slot? A few daycares in the area have after-school pickup and care. There is also the individual hiring of someone to pick-up and care for your child until you get off work. The best option, if at all possible, is soliciting a family member’s help, could be grandpa or aunt-and-them can get “Henry” to afterschool? Whatever your choice make sure it is reliable.

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Behavior To Master

A chunk of being ready for school is ensuring that your child has the social skills for any school. This begins with emotional reinforcement or acknowledgment of your child’s feeling. It is not a lengthy or complicated process, as your child cries or expresses frustration turn to him explain the process or lack therefore and move on. Consistently doing so is a form of support that cements emotional stability as well as help with social skills. As your child begins to understand the human process of behave and consequences, he will be able to relate with others and ultimately interact better with his peers.

Good Habits For School

An independent child fairs well in any school settings. This usually means he understands the importance of caring for his things as he cleans up and puts them into their appropriate places. Couple with independence are the abilities to sit and listen for long periods. You can build his proficiency by regular midday readings. Playing children’s board games will also enhance the total child. This family time likewise develops your child’s concentration, self-control, cognitive skills, as well as teaches him how best to follow directions - all very essential tools for academic success.

As it gets closer and closer to the first day of the school year your anxiety will mount, below are several steps to help you cope.

  • Go online to the school’s website read and then review the school rules with your child in a manner that is not too stressful to both of you. Keep it light by letting your child know that it is not the end of the world if he forgets these rules. Do not stress the small stuff.
  • Talk with your child about the importance of learning and the significant function of school; read to him age or grade appropriate books about school.
  • The summer before school, implement a school bedtime schedule.
  • A month, two weeks or a week from the first day of school start a calendar count down with your child, begin crossing out days that lead up to the day of school.
  • Involve your child in the school supply and clothes purchases; be sure to permanent mark items of your kindergarten to 2nd grade students.
  • Review the drop-off and pickup schedule as well as establish an emergency plan.
  • Decide if brown bagging lunch is best. Revisit this decision throughout the school semester, your child’s desire for school lunch might change.

Life flows in unpredictable currents, and reflects in your preparation for the changes in your child’s life. It matters not how well you arrange things, there will always be something that you as a mother will overlook. Nevertheless, you can find consolation in the knowledge that your child’s love for you forgives all things.

Will you volunteer at your child's school?

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    • Flipsgeraldine profile image

      Yvette Marshall 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is why I write what I do, I never had a support group of any type and wanted in some way to help someone in any little way.

    • profile image

      Jill Moore 2 years ago

      My smallest started school this year so it's something I've been through three times now (and am grateful that it's one first I don't have to face again!). Some useful pointers here - I absolutely second having a family planner in an easy to access place in your home. There is ALWAYS something going on a school that needs your attention. I agree that having a support network is important too - although my best ones have been informal and organic in nature.