Interview with a psychologist. A child’s adaptation to school.
Practical psychologist in CISC, a professional with a great experience, Iryna Mykolaivna Lagoda shares her view and recommendations as to child’s successful adaptation to school after the summer vacation. What is worth paying attention to, which topics must be discussed and which mistakes should be avoided.
- What is the essence of adaptation after the summer vacation?
First of all, it is a child’s adaptation to the new schedule. In summer, a child can wake up whenever he/she likes, do whatever he/she desires (whether it’s reading or watching TV late at night). That’s why it is necessary to get ready to the new regime both physiologically and psychologically. The child must realize that within the next nine month the schedule wil be different from the summer one.
As concerns adaptation, several days or even weeks must be devoted to it. The child must go to bed and wake up earlier. You should explain to the child that it will be school time soon, and the amount of tasks and pressure will be larger, since many interesting and exciting things await ahead. It’s a sort of psychological preparation which helps prevent stress caused by the changes in the life rhytm. Changes may be hard even for adults let alone the children.
It often happens that a child refuses to go to school on the first week of studies. Even though the school is interesting, comfortable, and friends are there. What may be the problem here? The child is affected by the realization of the fact that it’s necessary to wake up early, go somewhere, stay calm for a long period of time. It imposes a certain psychological and physical stress to the body and mind. That’s why it is crucial to start the preparation and adaptation beforehand.
- What is the secret of a child’s successful preparation to school?
It would be beneficial if parents could study together with the child before school. What do I mean by that? Some reading, writing, task solving. It does not require much time – 10minutes of studies, then a break.
It is also important to communicate with the child on some nice topics, to have nice and positive conversations. For example, “let’s recall where we were this summer, what interesting things we saw and learned, what we read”, “soon you’ll be able to share your experience with the classmates”, “I wonder how they spent their summer vacation” etc.
Such intellectual component must be included into each day of preparation to school. Doing something for the brain and for development is of vital importance.By the end of vacation the child must tune into a certain schedule, feel the new regime. For example, the child must know: “each morning we are solving tasks and problems with mommy, reading, talking about our journeys, and during the day we study English words (even if through watching cartoons)”. The child needs to understand that the end of summer is not a reason to be sad since so many new and exciting things are ahead.
- Talking to the child. Which psychological topics must be discussed before the beginning of the school year?
First of all, we must start with positive attitude, concentrate on pleasant things. In different age there are different things that attract the child to school, – the wish to see friends, demonstrate a new dress, share summer adventures, show off with a new pencil-case etc. And that’s what we have to discuss with children, we must recall the favourite subjects, set goals, plan thhe next vacation etc. Meaning that we apply the same motivation methods as an adult uses in life. Why is this important? Such advice from parents will essentially help the adaptation process.
- How important is the school teacher’s role in this matter? What the first school days must be?
The first school days must be balanced. The academic load must be distributed evenly and eventually.
That’s how it works in nature. The sumer does not come right after the winter, the spring must bloom first. The same way in studies – we must have a transitional period. Taking into account all trainings, skills and professional experience, the teachers must introduce the child into the educational process eventually, giving the academic load in progressive manner. Professionalism is of essence here.
- What popular mistakes must be avoided by the parents during the child’s preparation to school?
By no means you should say something like “that’s it, the school year has started and you must be attentive, you must not mess with anyone” etc. The parents have to understand that there is no need to scare the child with school, instead some motivation and encouragement are necessary that might help developing the child’s interest to studies.
One more essential moment. The parents are adults who carry their own load, they have their work and problems. They shouldn’t demonstrate to the child that the beginning of school year is one more hard test for them. It would be much better if the child heard “we have a new period in life, lots of interesting things await ahead”, you will study, you will tell me some new and exciting things or bring something interesting”.
I advise to set not only the child but the whole family for positive mood. If your thoughts are positive, your life is positive. Our thoughts comprise our lives.
Have a nice school year!