The phrase “back-to-school” hasn’t really had an effect on me until now. That's going to change this year now that I have a preschooler about to enter the classroom.
And, to be honest, I’m not quite sure I’m ready for it!
For months now, I’ve focused on getting my daughter mentally and emotionally prepared for going to school. Since I’ve been able to work from home, she’s never been left in the care of someone else, except my family, for longer than a few hours.
While I’m fortunate to have all this time with her – I’m afraid it may backfire come the first day of preschool. Even though she’s seemingly prepared and extremely excited, the true test will be the first day when I actually leave her there (and I have to walk out the door).
Other moms are facing the same first day emotions, so here are some way to help prepare for the new school year:
- Know your child and talk to them – You know how they react in new or different situations and the best way to tame a toddler’s reaction, or overreaction, is to explain to them all about what will happen that day. If you outline the events to happen in advance and keep reminding them, on the big day, they’ll feel a little more at ease when you remind them how you discussed it and how much fun and all the new things they’re going to learn.
- Explain, explain, repeat. I’ve been explaining to my daughter about the process of what will happen the first day of school. I’ve been reminding her that Mommy and her brother will take her to her school and drop her off. We’re going to leave but we’ll be back to pick her up when she’s all done learning and doing arts and crafts, etc. Since I’ve been doing this, she’s actually repeated that part back to me, which means she’s starting to grasp that concept.
- Let them choose their own clothes, new backpack, supplies, etc. – You already know your child likes to make their own choices – isn’t that what toddler-hood is all about? Power-struggles and exerting their own voice and control? If they feel in-control of the situation from the start, chances are the day will go a lot better when they start on a positive note.
- Keep the routine the same – Don’t change anything major, such as your morning routine, on the first day of school. This may cause anxiety on their part knowing something is really different. Have breakfast and get dressed and ready as usual with the reminder that today’s the first day of school.
- For the “dreaded” good-bye and drop off – I read here that you shouldn’t sneak away or leave while they are distracted. Additionally, the article suggests not to make promises to them for staying at school. I agree with this and plan to do just that.
Here’s another great web site I found with some additional tips, tricks and words of comfort for both you and I in case you are about to embark on this huge milestone with me.