One of the most exciting moments for a parent is when your child starts primary school formally. It is the beginning of the 11-year journey towards the future.
I am a mother of four, and every time my child dons the primary school uniform on the first day of Year 1, I get emotional. Happy to see them moving on to the next phase of their life, but sad to know that they will never be that small again. Above all, I was thankful that I was given the chance to see them grow up.
Since many of you will face this in a few months, I would like to share some tips on handling the transition from kindergarten to primary school.
Preparing the school supplies:
Do not overbuy. Some parents tend to think that preparing more for their children is better than not having enough. WRONG! It will never be enough. The more you give for the first few months, the more they will lose. For example, you prepared 5 pencils, thinking they might need to use all of them.
Before the week ends, they will only have 1 or 2 pencils left. The usual answer if asked is, “My friend borrowed it.” or “I left it at school.”. Keep a box of pencils at home, and just give them 2 or a maximum of 3 to bring to school. The same goes for other small stationeries.
We often hear people say not to buy expensive stuff. If you have the budget and you want to splurge on it, by all means, do it. However, if anything goes missing or broken, do not blame the child, other people’s child, or the teachers for it. Once, a mother complained that one of the classmates ‘took’ her child’s expensive water bottle. As the story unfolds, her child gave her friend the water bottle because it was her friend’s birthday.
How many pairs of uniforms should you get?
Depending on your budget, I would suggest getting 2 sets of normal uniforms and 2 sets of sports attire. As for shoes, ideally 2 pairs but I only prepare 1 pair of shoes (A big shout out to Dr Maszlee for allowing black shoes. Now I don’t have to wash the shoes weekly.). Why only a pair? Because they grow out of it so fast. Of course, there are a lot of what-ifs. What if the shoes get wet? What if the shoes go missing? If that happens, buy new ones. Simple as that. I buy only when it is necessary. Buy a lot of socks because mysteriously, the socks will go missing after it goes in the washing machine. For girls who wear the hijab, buy the easy one-layer white hijab to wear with the school uniform, and I usually prepare a black hijab to wear with the sports attire.
Parents, let the teachers do their job!
You are anxious. You worry about how your child would survive being in the big school. Will they know how to find their classes? Can they handle going to the canteen during recess alone? How about going to the toilet? What happens if they cry?
Take a deep breath, and let the teachers do their job. Teachers are amazing, especially those who are in charge of the Year 1 student. Their patience and dedication are in a different league from that of a normal human being. So, let them do their wonders. The more you allow your child to grow, the faster they acclimatise to the new environment.
Take lots and lots of photos…
You will only get this chance once every child. From sending them to their class to taking photos of them with their classmates, standing in the assembly line, and during recess. Just stalk them for a day. But try not to interfere. Take your photos, and leave hastily. Do not linger around. It might trigger a crying episode for the child if they see you standing outside of the classroom for too long.
These are based on my experience after sending four children to primary 1. Some of you might have different approaches to preparing for the big day. The most important thing for your child is that you are present that day to give them moral support. Try your best to accommodate the whole day for them. It might look insignificant to us, but for them, it is a huge step towards the future.
Naziah is a writer attached to MZR Global Sdn Bhd. She is a mother of four teen and tween girls. She has co-written a few books and currently focusing on copywriting and scriptwriting.