Starting School: Going to school is a key stage in your child’s life. This is usually the first time that a child experiences separation from his family, going from a family environment which has given him security and protection to a new and unknown environment, surrounded by children and adults that he’s never met. This change can cause particular reactions in the first few weeks.
As a general rule of thumb, all children need time to adapt
Don’t be concerned but do be alert to your child’s reactions, a child that doesn’t cry or demand attention can go unnoticed. You may think that if your child doesn’t cry, and seems happy and content, that he doesn’t need time to adapt. But this stage can involve many other things. You have to offer a lot of support, affection and transmit security. Understanding this process and being aware of your child’s needs can help to ensure this transitional stage is successful. This isn’t only a period of adaptation for the children but also for the parents and educators involved.
The transition stage is an important and vital part of the process
Throughout children’s lives, although at the start for children the separation may be painful, the child will experience these sorts of situations, and thanks to this scenario their self confidence will grow as well as their ability to adapt and socialise, which will benefit and help form their personalities. Your children will come across situations: hygiene, eating, sleeping, routines, which the school establishes and which will help them organise their time and activity, their relationships with other children, with adults, with space and objects.
To understand this process well, you need to be aware of the most common reactions that children may display:
Some feel separation anxiety and may feel abandoned, scared,jealousies erupt amongst siblings, or bad behaviour and irritability can surface.
Some children can suffer from sleep problems, lack of appetite, vomiting…
Most children will cry, the most common form of manifestation.
Some children don’t cry and participate at school in a resigned way because the activity is new to them, but then at home they manifest negative behaviour.
Other children remain secluded, they don’t participate, they don’t mingle, they remain still.
Some children bring with them their security item from home, participating but all the while holding the item in their hand.
Parents and educators also go through an adaptation phase. You may feel that you are separating from your children, doubts will arise about the care they’ll receive and the environment. It’s important to transmit security otherwise the process of adaptation will be much harder. The best is for educators and parents to support each other so that the process is a success for the child. On the other hand, the role of the educator is an important one; his ability, knowledge and empathy will help to manage difficult situations that may arise in the classroom. They too need to adapt, as they get to know the peculiarities of the children, their likes and dislikes, and therefore are able to create strategies that lead to an adequate and good learning environment.
How best to face this stage and how can you help your children?
Accept that this behaviour is normal for this stage, without pressure or concern, it’s a phase that all children experience, the best is to help them, and give them the security that they need. If we accept it as a natural process we will help our children get through it.
Each child is unique and some need more or less time to adapt to new situations.
It is normal for you, as parents, to have concerns, and experience worry… Don’t transmit this to your children – avoid externalising these emotions. Talk with other adults as much as you can, with the schools, etc. Be reassuring with your children, as your anxiety will only increase theirs.
When you drop off your children at school, see them off with a smile, security and affection. Don’t extend the goodbyes regardless of whether your child appears to be having problems separating from you.
During the adaptation process, try and drop off and collect your children as much as you can, this will give them security and they will get used to the change that much sooner. Don’t be late, so as to avoid feelings of abandonment.
Let your child take his favourite toy to school or something familiar which reminds him of home.
The adaptation phase to school is not a good time to bring in other changes (removing nappies, change of bedroom, moving home…) It’s best that they first get over the adaptation period, whatever the child’s age.
It’s possible that your children, when you collect them, either cry or show indifference. These are manifestations that shouldn’t concern you. In some situations children experience contradictory emotions, they are experiencing separation from their educator at the same time as the desire to go with their parents.
Objetives for parents
- Overcome separation anxiety
- Trust the team
- See your children off with warmth and confidence
- Understand and value the transition that your children are experiencing
Objectives for the children
- Embrace the new space and be able to move freely within in
- Explore new material
- Adapt to new routines
- Understand and remember the rules established by the educators
- Create good relationships with the educators and other children
- Accept bit by bit separation from parents
Welcome to school!
Gabinete Psicopedagogico de Eduqa Escuelas Infantiles
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