Classes are starting at Square Roots Preschool! It’s an exciting time for students, teachers, and parents, but it can also carry with it some anxiety, especially for young students venturing off to school for the first time. As a small, home-based preschool, Square Roots provides a secure transition from those early years at home to a nurturing, play-based school environment. Even so, there are bound to be a few tears shed (even if it’s just mom).
Depending on your child’s personality, he may give you a little wave and say “bye!” or may burst into an all-out tantrum the first time you drop him off. Or it could be something in-between. Regardless, it’s best to try to be prepared and be ready for the unexpected. Most importantly, trust that the teacher is experienced in dealing with first days and upset children. Your child’s teacher will handle the situation and soon your child will be all smiles.
Here are a few tips to help make that first day go smoothly:
1. Prepare. Talk about school before it happens. Get into a morning routine, and speak to your child about what to expect when she gets to school, who will be there, and all of the fun things she’ll do. Excitement is contagious.
2. Let your child know that you (or a caregiver) will be picking him up. Young children sometimes feel like their parent or caregiver might never come back, especially if they haven’t been dropped-off somewhere before. Reinforce the idea that you will be back after school.
3. When you drop your child off, never sneak away. Tell your child goodbye, and make sure she knows you are leaving. If your child doesn’t know that you’ve left, they soon will, and they may feel abandoned.
4. Keep the goodbyes brief. Lingering goodbyes can be confusing for a child. Your child may be upset when you leave, but if you’ve told him that you are going to leave, he should be prepared. Trust that the teacher will comfort an upset child. Most likely, things will calm down once your child becomes involved in an activity. If a parent or caregiver lingers, that–rather than the activity–becomes the focus.
5. Make up a ritual. Rituals can be comforting to preschool-aged children who may have some anxiety about starting school. Come up with a special hug, or blow three kisses before you leave. Perhaps put a kiss in your child’s pocket so it can be “used” later. Get creative and come up with something that will provide enjoyment and comfort to your child. We love the book, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. It highlights one such comforting ritual between and mother and child raccoon who are experiencing school for the first time.
The first day–or even the first few days–of school can be trying, but try to focus on the positive. This is an exciting time for you and your child! Enjoy!