Many children can't wait for the first day of school while others are hesitant and even anxious or fearful. That's ok - it's a big step! Once they have positive experiences and become comfortable with the schedule and routines, school becomes a positive, enjoyable place to be.
If your little one seems nervous or fearful about going to school, it is important to encourage them to express these feelings. If your child is able to voice concerns, you will be able to answer questions that arise. It's important for you to remain calm and speak positively when talking about school with your child. Offering a lot of advice or detailed instructions might lead to feelings of doubt or fear.
Here are a few more suggestions that may be helpful in preparing for the first days of school:
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest - get to bed on time, schedue some quiet time to nap or read.
- Make sure everyone eats a good breakfast every morning.
- Take your child along when school supply shopping and designate a special place for your child to keep school supplies until school begins. You might even set up a little school corner at home if you have the space.
- During devotion or prayer times, pray for your child’s teachers and classmates.
- Talk about how your child will get to and from school - how drop off and pick up work, what it is like to ride the bus, etc.
- Let your child know that the teacher or classroom aide will be able to help if there is a question or concern.
- Attend the meet & greet event with your classroom teachers if offered to help begin the school year on a positive note.
- On the first day of school, see that your child is comfortable before you leaving and remind them that you will return when school is finished, or be waiting for them when the bus arrives. Say goodbye cheerfully…and once. (Lengthy goodbyes can be difficult for parents and children).
- After school is over, set aside a special time to encourage your child to talk about his or her school experiences.
Take it easy the first week or two of school - don't schedule a lot of activities or events. Keep mealtimes simple and evenings low key. Expect that children will be tired, possibly emotional, and even a little crabby or upset as they adjust to their new routines.
Together, you and your child's teacher will work through any difficult moments. Don't hesitate to reach out to classroom with any questions or concerns - we're all in this together, and we're going to have a great year!