Helping your young child attend school every day

Parents know it’s important that a child attend school regularly. Here are ideas for parents to help their child attend school every day.

How is the school routine going at your home? As a parent, you realize how important it is that your child has good attendance at school. Whether you are a parent, helping raise your grandchild or a foster parent, a lot of love and effort goes into parenting a young child.

How do you help your child to go to school every day? The Michigan State University Extension curriculum “Parenting the Preschooler” has some good tips to make going to school each day easier for both parent and child. For parents that are home schooling, some of the tips will need to be modified for your family’s situation:

  • Young children need routines. Routines help them know what to expect and when things will happen; a consistent routine helps them learn how to plan.
  • Get things ready the night before. Help your child to choose clothes, or choose for them; place the items where they can be easily found in the morning.
  • Help them pack their school bag and place it by the door.
  • Make a bedtime routine. Talk about what will come next as he/she baths, brushes teeth and puts on pajamas.
  • Read a story and tuck them into bed early enough so that they get plenty of sleep. Preschoolers need between 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat breakfast every morning. Give a few healthy choices like cereal and milk or eggs and wheat toast and let them choose if they can. Eating breakfast together is even better and talk about the plan for the day; read this article for more about a “Hassel-Free Meal Time.”
  • Have a special good-bye. Try a special wave, kisses and hugs, or saying something like “See you later alligator.” Do it every day so it becomes your own good-bye tradition.
  • Know what your child does at school each day. Ask the teacher for a school schedule or calendar so you can prepare him or her for the day. Talk about special projects or visitors so your child knows what to expect as much as possible.
  • Teach your child why it is important to go to school every day. If you work, explain that your job is going to work and their job is going to school. If you stay at home, explain that your job is to take care of things at home while they are at school. Help them to understand that school is a place to learn and make friends.
  • Learn the names of your child’s teachers and friends and talk about these special people during your time at home.
  • Read books together about going to school.

Not only are children adjusting to going to school, the parent is too! Your routine might be going smoothly or be unsettled yet. The adjustment takes some time. You are helping your child to form good habits that can help them for a lifetime so your effort will be worth it.

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