DON’T LET SCHOOL BECOME A NIGHTMARE
Your child entering the education life for the first time might experience adaptation problems. According to the experts this period should be handled professionally in order not to turn it into a nightmare, and child should be told that going to school is beneficial on his/her development rather than an obligation. Songül Özgün, Lecturer at Child Development Program, Vocational School of Health Services, Izmir University of Economics, pointed that parents’ and teachers’ attitudes and behaviors had a tremendous effect on child’s view about the school, and expressions such as ‘I wish the school would start so I can get a relief’ would cause the child to develop negative thoughts about school.
Özgün reported that starting school was an exciting event both for the child and the parents. She said, “A new social environment, new rules, new friends are all learning requirements for the child. This might be unprecedented and scary. Starting school and starting to take responsibilities all of a sudden might result in tantrums and refusing to go to school. Therefore, it is very important for teachers and parents to watch out for their attitudes and behaviors”.
Özgün emphasized the importance of making the child believe that sending them to school was neither a punishment nor an obligation, and warned that parents needed to take the fact that children transferred from house environment to much bigger school environment into consideration. Özgün also stated that children might experience some issues related to self-care. “The child might experience problems in carrying out some of the psychomotor development behaviors alone. He/she might feel shy about wanting to go to the bathroom, or have difficulty in unzipping or zipping after using the bathroom. Parents and teacher informing the child correctly would help prevent such problems,” said Özgün.
‘Appreciation Would Encourage the Child’
Özgün said that learning how to write and read would be a new challenge for children so instead of focusing on their success or failures, parents and teachers need to appreciate the child’s efforts for encouragement.
Recommendations by Child Development Specialist Özgün:
. Fine motor skills of a child who starts school are still progressing. It is okay not to be able to hold a pencil, tie shoes, or zip/unzip. Parents need to teach their children these skills instead of doing it for them.
. Also, doing the assignments given by the school for the child would hinder the child’s learning. It would be beneficial to wait for the child to finish homework, or encourage them to do their homework by themselves. This would give the child the sense of responsibility.
. Child who starts elementary school is still in play stage. We should remember that they have a shorter attention span. Doing homework should not take longer than 20 minutes.
. Next to parents, teachers are people who know the child the best. So, it would be beneficial for parents and teachers to get together periodically to talk about the academic and social progress of the child.
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