Well, it is right around the corner. My oldest is starting his second year of pre-k. This year he is in universal Pre-K and will be gone all morning long. Not only that, he is going to riding the BIG BOY BUS. It’s bittersweet. He NEEDS to go and get back on a structured routine outside of our home. And it will give me a much needed break from having all 3 monsters everyday. But my first baby boy is turning into a BIG boy right before my eyes.
I can remember dropping him off on his first day last year, tears unexpectedly filled my eyes, while me little boy ran right into the classroom. Now I will sending him off on the big yellow bus, only able to wave bye as the bus pulls away.
The start of a new school year can always stir up a little nervous energy and be a bit scary for both you and your child. Especially when you have to let go and let someone other than yourself get them to school safely and care for your child.
Here a few tips to ease the transition on the first day and the up coming weeks ahead:
Prep your child about the day’s routine. Talk about what preschool will be like, how your child will get to school/come home, and what he will do during the day. If your child is bringing lunch, pack his favorites. Let him choose a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring. He can leave it in his cubby or near his coat hook. Just knowing it’s there should be a source of comfort for him.
Don’t Sneak Out. When it’s time to go, make sure to say good-bye to your child. Never sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying good-bye to your child risks her trust in you.
When you say good-bye, stay positive. Your child is watching your reaction to figure out how he should feel. If you appear worried or upset, he may feel more fearful. Say a quick, upbeat good-bye, tell him that yes, you will both miss each other, but he will have a great day. And remind him you’ll be back or be waiting for him/her at the bus stop.
Resist the urge to rescue.Once you say good-bye, leave promptly. A long good-bye might only serve to reinforce a child’s sense that preschool is a bad place.
Express your ease with leaving. Some parents wave from outside the classroom window or make a funny good-bye face.
Resist the urge to run back into the classroom if you hear your child crying. He/She very much may feel scared and a little nervous. But if you return to the classroom, you might prolong their distress. You need to have confidence that the teacher knows how to deal with these situations. They have dealt with it many times. If you’re worried and need a little reassurance yourself, call the school to see how he/she is doing.
Make up your very own ritual for just the two fo you. Say goodbye the same way every day: whether its a little kiss on the cheek, giving him/her five, or a big bear hug. It’s a nice way to give them a little more love and reassurance.
Create a reward system. For example, you can give your child his/her own calendar. If they went to class without putting up a fuss, you can out put a smiley face on the calendar (otherwise, they get a sad face). On Friday, if he/she has five smiley faces, they get a special surprise.
Don’t overdo your reunion. Follow your child’s lead when you pick them up or when they get off the bus. He/She may run to you for a hug, they may just say “Hi, Mommy,” he/she might actually be upset that you’re taking them away from the fun or possibly be upset due to having to stay at school. ” If you go on and on about how much you missed them, your child may feel guilty for making you sad or only make your good-byes worse for him/her the next day.”
If possible, learn the other kids’ names. When you can drop your child off and say “Brayden look, there is spot for you at the puzzle table next to Ella and Matthew,” or “Remember how much fun you said you had with Ryan and Sydney yesterday, you’ll see them again today.” It makes going to school seem fun, familiar, and safe.
These are just a few ideas to help ease the transition to start of school for you and your child.