Preparing your child for school

Troy Tvoller

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

PrEpArInG yOuR ChiLd FoR ScHOol

(This article is in response to an ABC Radio talk I did on the topic of how to prepare ones children for school. )

I woke up this morning thinking, " it is not how one starts a race that counts, but how one finishes."

 Next week, the new school Term starts and many of us are busy, purchasing school resources.

We want our children to start school eager to learn and make new friends. That first week we will be asking our children how school was. 

But after the novelty has worn off so may their enthusiasm and motivation.

My thoughts are, lets not just prepare our kids for a great start at school, but lets set up a  routine that encourages time management, self discipline and age appropriate independence that will last the whole year through.

It will require more work at the beginning to set  the structure , but, in the long run, it will make life smoother. Hopefully! 

Out of my 8 children, 5 have left school. I look back on those 20 years of school life with my older children and thank God  we survived. Most of my concerns for them, was having enough food, uniforms and money for excursions. Trying to make a happy home when facing issues like divorce, step parenting, anger,isolation  and mortgage repayments was very hard.

It was a major accomplishment if I got to sit down, listen to children read, test them on their spelling, be parent help or attend assemblies!

School was the one constant for my children. Good teachers and friends made their life happier. Despite our circumstances they  received good reports,  graduated school and found jobs. Whew! 

Yet I still have 3 children left . One each at High School, Year 3 and Pre Primary.

My life is still very busy but not as shattered as it was before, so I am able to ponder about preparing my children  for a successful year ahead.

My children's learning will overflow from to home life to school, to community, to jobs and back to home.  Therefore I realise that the values and beliefs we live at home will  help or hinder my children's  future.

As a parent, I ask myself, "What am I teaching my children?"

I  hope  I am teaching them:

* manners

* respect for themselves and others

* respect for their property and belongings

* organisation

* healthy work ethic

* communication 

* perseverance

I would like them to feel:



* strong


* accepted

* capable

* loved

I want them to know:

* they are good at something

*they can set goals and achieve them

*they can  improve themselves and their skills

*to never give up

So, how am I going to reinforce the desired values and beliefs that will help my children succeed? I will sit down with them and we will: 

1. List their goals

2. Map out their choices

3. Prepare a routine

4. Design rewards and consequences

5. Give them free time to create 

6. Ensure they get adequate, sleep, exercise and healthy food

What will my children's success require from me?

1. Time to listen and communicate

2. Money for resources and rewards

3. Strength and endurance to supervise and be consistent

4. Patience for us all to try and try again

5. Self discipline to do less for them but encourage them to empower themselves.

6. Speak calm and firm

7. Hugs and "I love yous "

What will I do to equip myself for this parenting job?

1. Exercise

2. Eat healthy

3. Rest and recuperate

4. Have family breaks

5. Laugh

6. Create

7. Forgive myself

As I read the above lists I almost exhaust myself thinking about how to do it all. So I pray every day and ask for Gods help in everything I do. He gives me wisdom and power and strength to carry on. 

Life is our school. We never stop learning. I have learned so much about myself by being a parent. It has been my hardest job yet my most fulfilling.

If we have children...we are called to be good Mothers.