J went to this kindergarten for 3 years while K was there for two years. My wife and I thought it would be time for a change and wanted to try out another kindergarten.
Preparing for New Kindergarten
There’s homework to do before you change schools for your child.
Before we started looking around, we talked to K about the idea of changing school. We encouraged him to face changes and try new things.
“It might not easy at first but once you are used to it, it will be fine.” we told him.
Of course, he relented at first – as we expected – mainly due to friends that he made in the previous kindergarten.
We repeated to him it was nothing unusual to try new things in life. We quoted a few examples that happened around us to highlight to him that he could be one of them too.
One excellent example is when his sister, J, first entered primary school – which happened exactly one year ago.
The moment we got some little positive responses from him, we began scouting for the new kindergarten.
When we found one that we liked, we brought K (turning 5 this year) to get first hand experience in the new school. Besides getting to know the new environment, we also let him familiarize with his “future” teachers and students as well.
He played a role in determining if we should enroll him in that school. However, final decision rested upon us.
Once K gave the nod to the new kindergarten that we suggested, we proceeded to make payment.
In the meantime, before school reopened, we constantly encouraged and motivated K to look forward to his new school by telling him some exciting things he would encounter there. Things like new friends, new teachers, new school, and even new menu!
How Things Turned Out
Finally the big day arrived. On the first day of school, K was a bit reluctant to go to the new kindergarten and requested to go back to the old one.
I tried another trick that I had – a trick that I learned when I dealt with J last time.
I play a game with him. I told him he should give himself at least a week before he said no to his new school. I drew a chart on whiteboard and he is responsible to check off the days after he comes home from school every day. When day 5 was checked, only then could he tell me how he felt about his school.
I promised him that I would do something if he didn’t like his new kindy but I wanted him to try it out for at least 5 days. I was worried 5 days was not sufficient. So to be safe, I extended to ten days.
But things slowly but surely turned out better after the first day.
Here is what happened since school started last Monday, in chronological order:
3 Jan: He hesitated mildly by saying he didn’t want to go to the new school but he didn’t relent. I asked him to allow him more days before saying no to the new school.
Right after school: the first thing he told me was he cried in school. But from what I saw, he didn’t turn down the school outright. He might still want to give himself a chance to adapt to the new school.
4 Jan: When waking him up for school, he refused to wake up and told us he didn’t want to go to school. He wanted to go to the old one.
He mentioned this a few times and I acknowledged his concerns. I didn’t say yes or no to his request.
Again, we assured him that everyone needed to face new things. And it’s not easy to do it. We quoted a few examples to relate our point. Such as his uncle who was taking up a new job in a foreign country recently.
Somehow I tried to make things light and easy and I didn’t force or threat to make him oblige.
Eventually, he agreed to take bath and have breakfast without a fuss. From then on, he didn’t complain anymore until he followed my wife to school. With an exception, he requested my wife to accompany him to go into the class.
When he came home that day, I asked him about school and if he wanted to go to the new school again the next day. He replied yes. I guess he had made friend with one of the kids at school. That might be the reason he was excited about it.
I gave him 5 days but it was only in the second day and he already said yes to his new school. Earlier than I expected.
Jan 6: I asked K what he didn’t like about his new school since he had already accepted it. He said, “The toilet floor is dirty. The rest is fine.”
I understand where he was coming from. The school is a new building and they were made to move into it with a very short notice. There are many things still remain incomplete including tiling.
What is more important is that K does not say no to his new school. That’s a big relief.
Jan 7: K happily marked his calendar when he passed the 5th day. To me this is immaterial as K has already accepted his new school on the second or third day.
Jan 10: First day of Week 2. Oh no! K said he didn’t want to go to school after he woke up in the morning. When I probed further to find out the real cause why he didn’t want to go, he said he was tired. I was relieved to find out about it – at least he had no problems with the school. He was just tired.
Jan 11: The 7th day. He was very excited when I fetched him home from school. At least he was happy about the food he had in school. A break from what he used to have in his previous kindergarten.
Jan 12: Wow today is the best. K was extremely excited about going to school. Right after he woke up, he couldn’t contain his enthusiasm and kept saying about going to school.
What a big difference a week could make!
I guess time is the best healer. Patience is a virtue. When given enough time, things can really turn around for the better – at least for children.