Our lives are full of ‘new beginnings’ – we celebrate new year, the joy of a new baby, birthdays, new jobs and first days of our children starting pre-school and school. All of us have experienced many new beginnings that have included changes and transitions. However, through these times we grow and learn and discover our strength and resilience.
This year we have celebrated a ‘new beginning’ with our three amazing Kindergarten classes. There has been a buzz and excitement in our school as each of these children begin their first formal year of schooling. You may even remember that new beginning yourself – your first day at school full of excitement, maybe you were a little nervous and apprehensive about what to expect. Our Kindergarten children over the last three weeks have also experienced these feelings. They are saying goodbye each morning feeling both a little excited about the fun of learning and new friends and a maybe a little nervous about the day ahead as they gradually settle in and get to know their teachers and routines.
This ‘new beginning’ is the start of a learning journey for each child. You will be amazed as your child flourishes and grows throughout the year. It is through your loving support and encouragement that helps them build self-confidence and a love of learning that will last them for the rest of their lives.
You are your child’s biggest cheer leader.
These positive foundations support them each year as they grow and move to their next class.
‘New beginnings’ are filled with anticipation, excitement and emotion. For all of us as parents it is helpful to have some ways to assist our children through these times.
Here are some tips from Kidsmatter that you might find helpful for this ‘new beginning’.
- Put aside some special time with your child to give them an opportunity to talk. (This can be done at any time – having dinner or driving in the car, or when your child feels most comfortable, such as playing or engaging in their favourite activity (eg on the swings or kicking a ball). Finding time during a shared activity will help your child to feel relaxed and comfortable to open up during a conversation with you. Some useful ways to prompt these conversations include:
- Sharing a story about when you have started something new (eg a job) and some of the feelings you had. This may help your child express how they are feeling.
- Using open ended questions that elicit more than yes or no answers (eg “What did you like about school today?”)
- Using encouragement and gestures like smiling and nodding to show your child you are interested in what they are saying.
- Helping manage the transition to school and helping them feel safe by being calm, and relaxed. Reassuring them by noticing their emotions and comforting them. However, it is important to find the balance between supporting and reassuring children and allowing children to have opportunities to practise managing their own emotions. By being emotionally available and showing understanding you help your child to manage this change.
Helping your child to learn the skills for ‘new beginnings’ will allow them to develop and practise skills that will enable them to handle future changes and challenges. This will also help to strengthen your child’s emotional health and wellbeing now and into the future.
Kidsmatter- Starting School