International schools are often the best choice for expat children. They often offer exclusive programs to students united by goals, interests and age. But, no matter how great a fit is for your son or daughter, the transition can be fairly daunting.
Whether your child will attend international schools in Chiang Mai or anywhere else, you can use the below steps to help them prepare for their big transition.
Before Your Child Leaves for School
Both you and your child might feel intimidated about the big change to an international school. So, use these tips to entice excitement and lessen anxiety for both of you.
1. Talk about your expectations
One of the scariest prospects for most people is the unknown. So, start implementing a routine as early on as possible. Also, find out what your child’s daily routine is likely to be at school and prepare him or her in advance.
2. Gauge your child’s emotional responses
Many children feel homesick and a little lost during the initial transition phase, but this is usually temporary. Gauge your child’s responses and if you think he or she requires more support, be sure to talk to your child and his or her teachers.
3. Do a test run
Why not do a practice day or two for your child’s first day at a new school? Take your child to the nearest bus stop or even drive them to school (whatever your routine is going to be) and ask to meet the staff before school starts and take a tour of the facilities.
4. Get your child to help choose school supplies
Let your child choose his or her own lunchbox, backpack, binder and even clothes to help them feel in control and confident of their next best step.
5. Get involved
If you can, try to volunteer at your child’s school or even help out with after-school activities. Take an active role in the school environment and get to know other parents and children at the international school.
6. Always remain patient
During this big transition, your child might start questioning things or go completely quiet. They might exude more attitude. Just remember they’re reacting to their big change and you should not change your standards, just give them time and space to adjust.
7. Play school
Take some time to role play with your child before they start school. Let them be the teacher and you be the student, so they can think about the different roles.
8. Don’t neglect sleep
During stressful changes, anxiety can affect sleep. In turn, sleep deprivation can adversely affect academic performance and mood. The key is routine. Keep a routine during these high stress times of change and help ensure your child is getting adequate sleep.
Use these 8 tips to help prepare your child for the change to an international school, complete with a new and widely diverse group of friends and teachers. If possible, try to get your child some lessons in the country’s local language to help make the adjustment even easier.