Adapting to school: how to help a first-grader child

The beginning of a child’s education and adaptation to school is a special and exciting time for both the baby and his parents. A small schoolboy enters another, completely unfamiliar world, where he will face not only exciting meetings with new friends, but also difficult trials associated with studies and the appearance of the first “adult” responsibilities.

What are the features of school adaptation in first-graders and what can be done to help the child pass the difficult period as quickly and painlessly as possible?

Child psychology: features of adaptation of first-graders to school

Adaptation is a process of restructuring the body, aimed at adapting the latter to new conditions. With the transition of a child to school education, such a restructuring affects, first of all, the cognitive, emotional-volitional and motivational spheres of his personality.

The main difficulty faced by a child who has crossed the threshold of school for the first time is to present him with rather strict, unusual requirements for him. The interests and desires of the child recede into the background; there is a forced rearrangement of priorities in favor of such concepts as “discipline”, “responsibility”, “independence”. After a carefree period of life spent in games and not associated with serious restrictions or prohibitions, the new life seems to the baby more boring and tiring than bright and truly interesting. 

The peculiarities of adaptation of a first grader to school also consist in a sharp change in the nature and goals of activity, which is due to the beginning of an active learning process. Until the child entered school , play was his usual leisure activity, which did not require the achievement of any specific results. Now, for the kid, it is precisely the need to strive for a certain result that is subsequently subject to teacher evaluation that becomes relevant.

The conditions associated with his stay in a new team and participation in the process of joint activity also have a significant influence on the psychoemotional state of the child. Intensive interaction with teachers and classmates requires the child to have developed communication skills.

It is known that the adaptation period is easiest for children who are prepared for school, that is, with sufficient communication experience, accustomed to observing the regime and familiar with the norms of behavior in the educational team. The best basis for instilling this kind of skills in a child is considered to be a kindergarten, which purposefully forms in a child the qualities necessary for his full transition to school education.

On average, school adaptation of first graders lasts from one and a half to three months. Such a difference is due to the individual characteristics of the psychology of each child and the degree of the child’s readiness for school. The combination of these two factors predetermines the level of adaptation inherent in one or another new student.  

Three levels of school adaptation

The following signs will help parents to determine how a first-grader adapts to school:

  • High level of adaptation. 

The kid goes to classes with pleasure, does not experience difficulties in mastering the program, speaks positively about the teacher, makes friends with classmates, actively participates in school life, shows a sincere interest in learning.

  • Average level of adaptation. 

The need to attend school does not cause negative emotions in the child; the kid gets along with classmates, performs school assignments, is able to cope with typical tasks and exercises. However, at the same time, he needs a detailed explanation of the teaching material and periodic monitoring by the teacher; concentrates on assignments only if the subject of study is interesting to him.

  • Low level of adaptation. 

Feedback from a first grader about the school and everything connected with it are indifferent or negative. The kid is constantly looking for a reason not to go to school; often complains of feeling unwell. A depressed mood dominates in the baby’s behavior; there are systematic violations of discipline at school. There are marked difficulties with the assimilation of educational material; independent work is difficult; there is a need for continuous teacher control. Communication with classmates does not go beyond the formal.

Adaptation problems in a first grader: additional symptoms and signs

A child’s violation of school adaptation can be signaled by a number of characteristic alarming symptoms:

  • chronic fatigue;
  • instability of mood;
  • increased anxiety;
  • loss of appetite;
  • sleep problems;
  • headaches;
  • dyspeptic disorders;
  • decreased immunity;
  • in severe cases, it is possible to develop a serious neurotic disorder (obsessive-compulsive disorder, stuttering, enuresis, etc.)

The appearance of the above symptoms in a child in the first weeks of schooling should be a signal for parents about the need to contact a child psychologist in a timely manner. The specialist will determine what the problem of adaptation is, and will find effective ways to quickly and efficiently solve it.

In addition, do not forget that children are very sensitive to geomagnetic fluctuations – you can use the service to clarify the weather conditions for the current day. Do not scold your baby if on some day he became moody, whiny and irritable – perhaps it is due to fluctuations in atmospheric parameters.  

How to help a first-grader child adapt: ​​tips for parents

Adherence to simple recommendations will help to minimize possible problems of adaptation of a first-grader to school for adults:

  • Show a sincere interest in your child’s school life, problems and achievements. Try to always be aware of your child’s relationship with the teacher and classmates. Take the time to communicate with your baby; because now he especially needs parental support, warmth and attention.
  • Provide a child-friendly psychological atmosphere in your home. Maintain positive self-esteem in your child, set him up for success and the inevitable victory over temporary difficulties of adaptation.
  • Develop, together with your child, a rational and at the same time comfortable daily routine for the baby. A ready-made schedule will help a young student feel more confident and not miss out on important daily activities.
  • Pay extra attention to the organization of proper nutrition for the child. The diet of a first grader should not only be healthy, but also as balanced as possible, that is, capable of providing the child’s body with all the necessary vitamins and microelements.
  • Start your day with positive things; do not forget to say a few kind words of encouragement before sending your child to class. Make sure your toddler has enough time to get ready for school normally.
  • Do not disdain the baby’s complaints about the deterioration of health. Remember that even the seemingly harmless symptoms can indicate adjustment problems.  
  • Foster independence in your child. Of course, it is the duty of every responsible parent to accompany the baby to school at first. But as for preparing a portfolio or cleaning up scattered toys in a children’s room, a first grader must learn to cope with such matters on his own.
  • Bring the thought to the child: a teacher is a person who has dedicated his life to giving children knowledge, which means that he should be treated with trust and respect. Do not allow statements in the presence of your child that could undermine the authority of the teacher in his eyes.
  • Do not deprive your toddler of play and communication with peers, even if his progress in school does not satisfy you. Learn to negotiate with your child; regardless of the circumstances, give up criticism, threats, ultimatums, and even more so – physical methods of punishment. Exercise systematic control over the state of affairs at school, but do it without undue fanaticism.

Consider the possible adaptation of your child, based on his level of preparedness for school, the specifics of temperament and communication skills. Make an effort to help your baby overcome all difficulties caused by certain personal factors – and the adaptation period will pass for him and for you quickly and painlessly!

event_note March 13, 2021

account_box Winona Tse MD

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