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School Troubles in First Grade

by Joy Dora

Once kindergarten has ended, you probably think that your child's adjustment period is over. Your child has acclimated to his or her school, made friends and has started learning to read, write and do basic math. But sometimes, first grade bring its own set of emotional, behavioral, social or educational problems.

Separation Anxiety

You may think that your child will have no difficulty separating from you at the beginning of the school year. After all, he made it through kindergarten. But first graders are still young, and an entire summer at home may make some kids apprehensive when it’s time for classes to begin again. Most first grade teachers will be sensitive to this. Some schools allow parents to visit children during lunch. One way to curb your child’s anxiety is to promise a weekly visit until he feels comfortable. If you have the time, become a room parent or volunteer in the school. Just knowing that you are there is likely to make your child feel better.

Behavior Problems

Some children may begin to experience behavioral issues in first grade. This can be because of a number of factors. If children are exposed to stresses at home, such as divorce or a move, they can begin to act out in the classroom. Or they may have developed friendships with peers who are encouraging them to act out. Your child’s teacher will likely notify you if she is having behavior problems during school, and he or she can work with you to develop a plan to improve behavior during the year. You should also talk with your child on a regular basis to see what’s happening during the day and how she is feeling.

Social Problems

Another potential problem is social isolation or teasing. Unfortunately, first grade is not too young for bullies. A child or group of children might decide to ostracize your child or call her names. Even more likely, friends today might be enemies tomorrow. Young children often change “best friends” on a regular basis. This can be hurtful to a child who felt he was the favorite one day and persona non-grata the next. In most cases, parents should stay out of small fights. Children tend to work these out on their own. But if your child is being taunted, teased or physically bullied, you should step in quickly and talk to the teacher.

Skill Weakness

It can be upsetting to discover that your child is not keeping up with the rest of the class. Skill weaknesses at the ages of 6 and 7 usually involve difficulty reading, writing or doing basic math. There are several ways you can work with your child if he’s behind. First, you can practice at home. Try to spend fifteen extra minutes a night with your son or daughter doing skill-building exercises. These can be fun. You can even use technology to help. At school, your child’s teacher will probably recommend a course of action. Often, schools have special programs to help children who need more practice. The teacher will likely keep you informed about his progress, but be sure to stay involved and ask questions.

About the Author

Joy Dora has been writing since 2001 and has a master of fine arts in creative writing. She has worked as a copywriter for many prominent online brands, and has also taught college composition and high school English.

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