The first day of school is momentous, usually loaded with emotions for both parent and child. While some children love the thought of meeting other kids and the adventure of a new situation, others may be concerned about being separated from you. Separation anxiety can also emerge once the excitement wears off and your child realizes that they won’t see you for several hours. Whether your child is looking forward to start school or is dreading it, preparing yourself and your little in advance can help start things off right.
Here are a six tips to smooth the transition from stay-at-home babies to school-going students.
- Curb your own anxiety: Children can sense when their parents are stressed out and this can lead them to be anxious themselves. So keep your emotions in check and talk about school in a practical, enthusiastic manner. Carefully choosing a school can play a huge role in reassuring yourself that your child will be safe and well taken care of.
- Make it an occasion: It’s a good idea to mark the first day of school as sort of a celebratory occasion – much like a birthday. Get your child to look forward to it by having a countdown to the day. Go shopping together for a new outfit and school accessories such as stationary and a backpack. Promise them a commemorative treat such as their favorite breakfast or snack when they get back from their first day.
- Make friends beforehand: If your child is worried about being in unfamiliar territory, you can help ease their anxiety by finding out which children live within close proximity to you and organizing a few play dates before school starts. This way, you’ll ensure that your kid has at least one or two familiar faces to comfort him.
- Answer questions: Be clear with your child on exactly what school will entail so that they aren’t left to imagine the worst. Also be receptive to any questions and answer them to help ease doubts. Taking your little one to the school beforehand and getting them to meet the teacher can help build their confidence in tackling the new situation.
- Be practical at the school gate: It’s a big day for the both of you and though you may feel teary, try your best to keep things practical. Before leaving, tell your child what is going to happen – that you must leave quickly once you are at the school gate. Smile and say goodbye, hug them and tell them that the time will come that you will pick them up. Then walk away. Your child may cry anyway but don’t prolong the goodbye and try to make him feel better; it will only make things worse. Teachers are well-equipped to deal with crying children and your leaving will encourage him to adjust faster to your absence.
- Adjustment could take time: Some kids take longer than others to adjust, so be patient. It could take days or weeks full of tears and screaming before your child is over their separation anxiety. By being consistent and remaining calm and cheerful, you’ll be helping your child get used to their new routine.
Share your thoughts, leave a comment below. Please like FamiLife’s page on Facebook so that you get all our articles and others may find us.