It is that time of the year when children start a new session in school. Some children are about to start with play school and a year senior will start with formal school education. My son is 2.5 years old and I was planning to start his play school from the new academic session. But his home schooling started much before that.
I always believe in talking to my child continuously. When my son started identifying objects and relating actions, I introduced him to various body parts, fruits, vegetables. Initially I didn’t use any book but used real time vegetables and fruits for identification. But his grandparents almost made me believe that I am torturing my child by teaching him always. All the aunties and relatives who visited us, said – “He has to study the whole life. Why spoil the childhood? Let him enjoy for a few more days and after that he has to slog anyways.”
I would always ponder and try to analyse if I am doing something wrong with my toddler. Right now, the feeling of competitiveness for my baby has not yet cropped up. I don’t make him learn things just because the neighbor’s daughter has already learnt it.
I do it to productively utilize his time. I also believe that studies are not a burden. It is neither force-able nor compulsive. It is just a process of learning while we play. It is just a process of enhancing his knowledge. Just because I saw him enjoying the process of learning, I planned to get him admitted in a play school. Every elder in the house pounced on me as if I am going to leave my child on the streets to wander. They all sympathized with my son – “Poor soul. You have to start studying at such a tender age. But these days competition is so high. So you have to start early. You will be made to study and now you have to study for the whole life.” I immediately diverted his attention to his books and told aunties that he loves his books and I don’t think he will have a tough time.
But it struck me that somewhere we are only responsible for developing the anxiety in children. So here are few ways to I follow to fight that anxiety:
- Don’t scare the child: Don’t make the child believe that he is going to fight a battle and he needs to put on his armor before he steps out of home. Don’t sympathize with him – “Poor soul. Now you have to study.” This adds to his anxiety and he is made to believe that going to school is a tough nut to crack and he won’t be able to do this alone. He is scared of the consequences and hence he wants his parents to be by his side always.
- Studies are not boring: Don’t make the child believe that studies are boring and now he has to spend those 3-4 hours in school studying all the books. Don’t sound monotonous and make your child believe that studies are tedious and it takes the shit out of us. A child learns what he is made to learn and believe.
- Take him to the school when you go for admission and fees submission: Expose him to the school and tell him that he is going to have a gala time there with friends and teachers. Show him toys and colorful walls and furniture to make him acquainted to the same. If the school authorities permit, let him play with the toys and enjoy fun rides for sometime: Let your child gel with fellow mates for sometime. It will give him prior exposure and some hands on experience.
- Take him along for shopping: Induce excitement in your child before the school starts. Involve him/her in shopping for new bag, bottle, lunch box, dress etc. Use phrases like –“Yay!! New bag.. we will take this to the school.” Usually bag is one item that a child has not possessed before and hence it stimulates a sense of exhilaration. Just try to amplify it each morning and tell him/her –“We will soon take this bag to the school.”
These are few steps I followed to keep my son’s separation anxiety away. Right now he looks all excited to start with schooling. He has attended a mock class too without creating a fuss. Finally, from Monday he starts his course and I hope he doesn’t create a fuss even then.