The beginning of the school year can be scary for everyone, including the teacher. Being nervous is completely normal. New experiences and unfamiliar people and places create anxiety in most people. We know that young children thrive on consistency and structure, so preparing your child for a return to, or an introduction to school is essential. Here are a few tips for preparing your child to begin or return to school:
Start reminding your child a week before school begins that summer will be over soon and they will go back to school.
Prepare your child for the new situation. Visit the new classroom or place, possibly you had the opportunity to attend a Storytime & STEAM, or are able to attend the ice cream social.
Reading books to your children helps not only their social emotional growth but is vital to the development of their vocabulary. The following books can be a great resource for you as you prepare your child to return to school:
The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn: A little raccoon named Chester is afraid to leave his mother and go to school. Mother Raccoon shares an old family tradition, the “kissing hand,” which comforts Chester and reminds him of his mother’s love, no matter where he goes.
You Go Away by Dorothy Corey: Full of colorful illustrations, this book is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers struggling with separation. Through a series of relatable examples, this story comforts children with a refrain that drives home a single message: Grown-ups do come back.
Bye-Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen: Learn that goodbye isn’t forever, and parents will come back at the end of the day, in this kind-hearted board book. They also discover simple rituals that can help a child tremendously — hugs and kisses, a big wave, a deep breath and faith in teachers and friends.
I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas: Owen the piglet is uncertain about leaving his mother during the day, but she eases his fears by assuring him she’ll love him every minute — from the time he leaves her, until he arrives back at home — even through his adventures without her, including eating lunch and making new friends.
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney: With the help from new preschool friends, Llama learns that it is OK to miss Mama Llama and still have fun at school.
Create a routine
Develop a good-bye routine. Use words and actions that will be comforting to your child and begin to implement them routinely during any transitions. For example, a hug, kiss, and high five or a good bye saying like “See you later Alligator”.
Keep calm and carry on
Your children may shed some tears when returning back from break. This new challenge may shock some parents, and they wonder why this is happening so late in the school year. This is totally normal!
Transitioning to school is hard for some children. Leaving you is not easy but remember, the longer your goodbye, the harder it will be for your child, so please keep these goodbyes brief. Lingering by the door just makes the separation more difficult.
Always tell your child you are leaving. It is also important to tell them when you will return. “I will pick you up after you play, have snack, and hear a story.”
Show your child that new people are okay. Greet a new person in a friendly way, with smiles and a positive tone of voice.
It’s also important to remain calm and keep your emotions under control during drop off. Your strength and confidence can become your child’s strength and confidence. This too shall pass!
We look forward to an incredible year with your child and your family. We hope these tips help for a smooth first day.