Preparing Your Child for School

It’s hard to believe how fast the first five years go by, and now the time has arrived for your child to start school. Most children start Kindergarten when they’re four to five years old, and they start Grade 1 when they’re five to six years old.

Your child may be ready to start school and learn new things. They may be excited, nervous, or a little bit of both.

You can support your child to learn and also show them that school’s important with these tips:

  • Take the time to talk to your child about their school day. Ask questions like: “What was the best thing that happened at school today?” or “What did you learn about today?”

  • Show your child that you value their work by asking if it’s okay to hang their work on the fridge or a wall for the family to see.

  • Encourage your child to tell the family and other important people in your lives about what they’re doing in school.

  • Read and share stories with your child every day.

  • Share your child’s interests, strengths, and challenges with their teacher.

  • Ask their teacher what you can do to help your child learn at home.

  • Go to school events and volunteer in the classroom, if you’re able, to find out more about the school and how your child’s doing.

  • Ask their teacher what’s the best way to keep in touch with them.

Sometimes children can get tired of school once the excitement of a new school year wears off. Your child might feel anxious if they’re not used to being away from you. Your child may even think they’re missing out on important activities at home.

Here are some ways you can help your child adjust to school:

  • Make sure they get enough sleep. They may need some extra sleep, especially during the first few weeks of school.

  • Plan healthy meals and snacks. For more information on healthy eating, see ‘Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide’ at hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.

  • School requires a high level of energy and attention from children. Try not to schedule too many organized activities and appointments during your child’s free time. Kids need some downtime once they are home from school.

  • Try to spend extra time with your child on days when they don’t have school.

If your child seems upset about going to school, complains about something like a stomachache or a headache, then it’s important to find out more:

  • Ask your child what they think might be bothering them and what might help.

  • Talk to their teacher to find out if there are things going on at school that may be bothering your child.

  • Arrange for a check-up with your health care provider.

  • Talk to other parents to find out if their child has the same types of concerns. 

Starting school can be a time of change and excitement for you and your child. Your child’s entering a new stage in life and experiencing new things. Enjoy this special time together as your child continues to grow and develop.

For more information about your child’s education, visit education.alberta.ca. For more information about what your child will learn in school, visit learnalberta.ca/content/ mychildslearning/kindergarten.html.

This information contains excerpts from Alberta Health Services’ +Healthy Parents, Healthy Children print and online resources. For more information on topics related to pregnancy and being a parent, and for information on where you can pick up free print copies of the +Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resources, go to healthyparentshealthychildren.ca.

The Healthy Parents, Healthy Children team is a part of the larger Healthy Children and Families’ team at Alberta Health Services. Find them on Facebook at Healthy Parents, Healthy Children or follow on Twitter @AHS_HPHC. For questions or comments, contact hphc@ahs.ca.

 

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