It’s the first day of school and both you and your child are nervous and excited. Perhaps you have never been apart before. If you were a stay at home mom or you were able to leave your child with a family member when you went to work, he or she may find the school a very crowded and scary place to be. They just may not be as excited as some of the other kids. While I can’t guarantee your child won’t cry on the first day of school, here are some things to start doing now to help with a smoother transition in September!
I month ahead
Plan some time apart ~ Starting now, plan a few hours apart from each other and work into a full school day worth of being apart (6 hours or so). Do this by asking to trade days with another mom looking to do the same with their child, hire a babysitter, or enroll your child in an activity where a parent does not need to participate!
2 Weeks prior little reminders.. in the day not at the end of the day. We don’t want any anxiety at bedtime. Use a happy excited tone, and don’t brush any concerns off… address them
Tell them what to expect ~ Talking to your child about what the day will be like is an important part of preparing them for school! Let them know that they will be required to sit and listen to the teacher about the classroom rules. They will learn songs and listen to stories. There will be snack time and lunch time, and a washroom located in or near the classroom. There will be time to learn and time to play. There will be new boys and girls to play with. The teacher is there to help them learn and feel safe and they can ask her if they need something or tell her if they don’t feel well. Most importantly, let them know that the end of the day will come (even if it feels like it won’t!!!!) and you /grandma/daycare provider will be there to pick them! Can you imagine going through your day not knowing what will happen next? Kids don’t like that either, talk about it often leading up to the start of school. Add in any other activities or parts of the day that you know will motivate and excite your child (gym, library, etc.).
Mom will return! ~ As mentioned above (but I feel the need to expand on this one!), you’ll be talking about what the day has in store for them, an important part to keep mentioning is that fact that mom WILL return to get them! If you drop them off with them knowing this information, it may ease that worry for them, don’t assume they know it will happen! Also, tell them ahead of time what to expect at drop off. Take them to the school this summer and show them where you will be dropping them off in front of the school doors with their teacher, kissing them good bye and leaving them for the day. Reassure them that although you cannot go into their classroom (usually a common school rule), the teacher or other students can help them get organized inside! Remind them that they will be eating lunch there (unless it’s a half day program of course!), as many young kids have the toughest time during lunch transition and think mom is coming then (it’s a long day for some!). It only takes a day or two and your child will realize that mom doesn’t leave them at school over night!