Emotionally Preparing for the First Day of School
It’s that time of the year! You're little one is starting school for the first time. This is a big milestone! You might be asking yourself, how can I help my child feel prepared for their first days of school? We have a list that’s teacher approved!
Create a goodbye routine
Saying goodbye on those first few days of school can be difficult for everyone involved–parents, teachers, and children. It is helpful to be consistent about your goodbye routine! Lingering and saying goodbye to your child many times can actually make things worse and the goodbyes harder.
This can look however you and your child decide, but an example would be one hug, one kiss, and a simple “I love you and I will come back to pick you up at the end of the day. Bye!” Then, you leave. This is the hardest part, but the consistency and predictability will make for a quicker recovery as the days go on.
During the weeks leading up to the first day of school, books can be a helpful way to prepare your child for what they might experience at school.
Here is a list of a few back to school books that might be helpful:
Mae’s First Day of School
This book is about a little girl who doesn’t want to go to school. She has many fears and worries about her first day. When she meets her teachers and her friends, she realizes that everyone gets scared and that’s okay! This one comes with lunch box notes that you can tear out and put in your little one’s lunch!
Lola Goes to School
This is a sweet book for preschool-aged children. It follows Lola on her first day of school to prepare your child for all the things they might see and do!
Jack Goes to Montessori School
I Love this book for our Montessori school-goers. It is a wonderful way to introduce your child to the materials they might see in their Montessori environment. It is also helpful for parents who are not familiar with Montessori to prepare themselves and their children!
If this is your first time leaving your child, it is important to assure them that grown ups always come back. While you as the adult understand the concept of school, this is all new to your child. Giving them this language can create an inner dialogue that might help them cope with that initial separation anxiety.
It is very normal for there to be tears for the first few days of school. It is a BIG change from being home together every day. You might shed a few tears, too! It is important to remember that there is nothing to worry about if the first few days are difficult for everyone–it will get easier as everyone gets accustomed to the routine!
Communicate with teachers
Your child’s teacher is on your team. You both want what is best for your child! The more information you give your child’s teacher, the better they will be able to serve your child. Are there any changes happening in the home? Is your child struggling in a certain area, or interested in something? This can be great information for teachers! Meeting before the first day of school can help everyone feel more comfortable about the transition.
It is always best to reach out to your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns. Drop off and pick up are not good times to discuss your concerns with teachers as they are busy with children! Find out the best way to communicate with the teachers–email, phone call, in-person conference–and reach out whenever you have questions. A positive and open relationship with parents and teachers will make for a successful school year!
For more, check out our blog article on practical ways to prepare for school!