Adaptation to school

1 min reading time

The beginning of school life leads the child to a new reality. The first time at school is a difficult experience for the children themselves but also for the parents. Several times it prevails fear of the unknown, fear or difficulty of separation from parents, the new situation, the child's realization that he is losing "firsts", the loss of the sense of uniqueness that he had at home, the knowledge that he will have to work and tire himself out to join a new team. All this makes it difficult for the child emotionally and is a challenge for him and his family. Each child's adjustment time to school is different: from a few hours to a few weeks.

It can also cause intense emotional stress the change of school environment, when the child changes house and neighborhood, when the transition is made from daycare to kindergarten, from kindergarten to primary school and later to middle school and high school, or because many times parents wish to send their child to a better educational environment. Although the reasons for this change are obvious and normal to the parents, for the child such a change is a blow and shakes him, even temporarily.

Each child, depending on his personality, reacts in a different way and adapts at a different pace to his new school. An outgoing and social child will adjust more smoothly than a more introverted and shy child.


How to help your child adjust:

  • The most important thing is to parents fight their own fears and separation anxiety with their child. How worried you are about how your child will do, how many difficulties you see with his school life ("I'm scared because I see how hard it is for him to be disciplined" "He's like me, shy" etc.) and then how much these worries actually have to do with the child and to what extent with your own experiences, your own problems at school?
  • If the child sees his parents worried, he will consider his fear justified and will make no effort to deal with it. Is important the parents' attitude and response to the child's reactions during his adjustment to be firm and decisive. There is no need for overprotection, because this reinforces the child's emotional dependence on the family and fills him with insecurity in the new reality he will face alone.
  • Plan some with the child introductory visits to the school before it starts to familiarize himself with the space
  • The start of school is good to be treated with excitement from family and followed by a fun shopping ritual and preparation of school supplies.
  • It would be good to accompany the child on the first day at school, to give him courage and make him feel comfortable. You can get to know other children starting at the same school together, so that he has at least a few familiar faces in the first days in class.
  • Reassure the child with words and actions about his return home. Give a warm kiss and give him a big hug. Show him that you're happy that he's grown up and going to school.
  • Talk to the child about your own experiences at school, your own experiences as a student. You can admit that on the first day you too had anxiety and fear of the new, feelings that are normal.
  • Describe to the child a realistic picture of everyday school life which he will face. Explain what the desks will be like in the classroom, about respecting his teacher, about recess and games at school.
  • Emphasize the positives, like the new friends he will meet, the things he will learn (he will read his favorite stories by himself), the group games, the excursions.

Success in school life requires a consistent and specific schedule: Waking up in the morning, hours of study, rest-play, TV-computer and definitely sleep must be observed with sufficient consistency and, if necessary, strictness.

Another key element for successful adaptation is the cultivation of a warm and cooperative relationship with the teacher: The relationship that the child will create with his teacher is of primary importance for him to have a good adjustment at school. That's why you keep a neutral attitude. If you have objections to the teacher's tactics, it is better to hold back and discuss them with her, when the child is not in front. Also, if the child complains about the teacher or the school in general, listen carefully without taking a position or giving a solution.

Help the child become independent in school:
Encourage him to make his own bag, teach him to write down his own tasks. If he asks for your help, look for ways with him to help him do all this on his own. Remind again and again that he goes to school not to do everything perfectly but to learn things he doesn't know.


Good luck!!

Margarita Tsitsi

Psychogram, Counseling-Psychological Support Center

and Speech Therapy for Children and Adults

Cleanthos 5, Hippocrates Area

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