The first day of school can be daunting for new students and even more so in a new country. But there are some steps parents can take to help prepare for the first day and to make it a little less stressful.
• Openly listen to your child’s fears so you can discuss them and if possible solve them in advance.
• Remind your child that everyone is new at some point and that it is OK to ask questions if he or she is unsure of something.
• Help eliminate the fear of the unknown by touring the school and locate key classrooms with your child before the school year begins.
• If possible, arrange a meeting for your child to meet her new teacher. If it is not possible to meet the teacher in person, ask the school administration if your child can send the teacher an email to introduce herself as well as ask any questions.
• Ask the school what kind of programs they have in place to ease the transition of new students. Many international schools have a buddy system where a more seassoned student is assigned to show the new student around.
• Find out if there is a parent-student orientation meeting. Here many of the questions that you and your child have will be answered and your child will be able to meet some of the key players like the principal and teachers
• Try to find out what school supply ‘must haves’ will be necessary before you leave your home country. For example, in some schools students need a swimming or bathing suit for gym class, which can be difficult to find in the winter seasons in certain countries
• If the school teaches in a language that is not a language the child knows, make sure he knows the point person he can go to with questions like, where is the bathroom?
• Although nerves might be high the night before school, try to make sure that your child gets a full night of sleep and a hearty breakfast to start the day.