Here it is. That time of year! School is beginning. For my children they are off to the world of learning on Monday. For many preschoolers, there may still be a week of vacation left. Our preschool does not start until after labor day--so there is a little time left.
The start of school brings many different feeling to parents. Joy, excitement, apprehension, and maybe even a little fear. For some parents this will be the first time to send that little one off to, for all intent and purposes, a stranger. Yes, you visited the school, you had a meet the teacher night, or an open house, but, mom and/or dad were usually along for the ride. Now it's time to say, "Good-bye," and come back in a little while to pick them up.
What can parents do to make this an easier transition? The most important thing a parent can do to help the child to be comfortable with going to school is to BE POSITIVE. The more positive you are about them going to school, the more they will feel comfortable. Talk about the new toys they'll get to play with, the new friends they are going to make, playing on the playground, making fun things to take home, etc. Try to make it sound like they are going to maybe.... Disney World? A place of fun and happiness. That's what it should be.
So now, you've talked it up. You're at the door, the teacher's there, what's next? You smile, give your child a big kiss, tell them you'll see them soon and then go. I know, I know, a lot easier said then done. Sometimes even harder. Sometimes there is screaming, sometimes there is kicking, sometimes tears--and this is you:). No really, this might occur, but believe me, it IS going to stop. We tell parents give us five to ten minutes, it will stop. We do our best to try to get them involved in something fun. With today's cell phones, we usually get a lot of calls from the parking lot to see if everything is okay, and it usually is. Also, remember this routine might go on for a couple of weeks too, but it will end.
The children have to know that you are comfortable with them being there. That you trust the teachers and the surroundings. The quicker they see this from you, the quicker they are happy to stay.
If need be there might be some ways to help them have comfort. We have had blankies, or snugglies, or favorite stuffed animals stay with us in backpacks. That way during playtime they can get peeked at and help the child to have something familiar. Another option might be to make something for them to wear. For example take a picture of the family, or mommy, or pet(whatever might make them comfortable) then get one of those plastic pouches on a string. Put the picture in the pouch and they have a neat necklace they can wear at school. Be creative--draw a picture on their palm like a kiss, etc.
These are just a few suggestions, and yes it is going to be more difficult for some than for others, but you will get through it. I hope you all have a great school year wherever you may be. Have fun and enjoy!
Now, I have to go get my box of tissues ready because tomorrow I send my youngest off on the school bus to the "big school." I know, I know--BE POSITIVE!