Are you concerned that your preschooler is not ready to start Primary 1 ? The first day of school can be a worrying—or even frightening—experience for any child and parents! Fret not, here are five things that you as a parent can do to help ease your child into primary school .

Be positive

Positive emotions are contagious. If you see learning and school as something to look forward to, your child is likely to mirror that emotion too. Avoid linking school with negative emotions like fear of punishment or being scolded by the teacher. Instead, be optimistic about the whole school experience and praise your child for any tasks they complete to prepare for school.

Cultivate the love of reading

A child who loves to read has a head start when it comes to growing his or her vocabulary. It would also build self-confidence and is a vital step to helping your child tackle language-related subjects.

Try having a family reading routine and letting them see you reading makes a difference! And don’t forget to encourage the love for reading in your mother tongue too. Expose your child to different genres and let your child pick the books to read, as capturing interest is a great way to grow that love for reading. When you set aside time to read to your child daily, they will gain new ideas and words every day.

Encourage independence

Your child’s move from being a preschooler to a primary school student is a positive step towards becoming a responsible person. Some tips to help grow this independence is to get your child to pack his or her bag, be responsible for completing any homework, put out the school uniform the night before, and even to help prepare a snack for recess.

Besides independence, some other soft skills you can equip your child with include time management, self-control, focus and learning to interact with others.

Help reinforce your child’s learning

Your help can make a difference if your child is taking a while to adjust to school. There may be different academic challenges that your child will face along the way. It helps if you can check in with them about whether they are coping with schoolwork, and assist them with any challenging work.

Keep talking to your child

Talk frequently to your child about school and sense how they feel about their new environment. This way, you can pick up on any anxiety or other issues, giving you time to address them. It also may put to rest any concerns you may have and you get to share his or her excitement and fresh experiences. At the end of the school day, instead of asking “How was your day?” ask questions like: “Did anything funny happen at school today?”, “Tell me about the best part of your day” or “What was the hardest thing you had to do today?”

Through it all, it helps to remember that this is just the start of a long education journey. Studying academic subjects is just one part of a whole new world your child is entering.