You may have done all your research and discussed this with all your friends who have school-going kiddies, but unless you experience it yourself, with your kid, there’s not much that you can do about it.
While starting school marks one of the biggest phases in your toddler’s life, it’s also a big phase for you as a parent. And trying to prepare for school a few days or weeks before the final day is a good idea to let your baby get ready for the new routine and life.
1. Be prepared: For the tears that is. As your kid leaves home for the first time and says bye to mamma, it is definitely going to be emotional and filled with tears. Of course not all kids may be crying, and there are some who will actually run off to school with a big smile and wave, but being prepared to see your toddler break into tears is a good way to prepare yourself too – for many times, its not just the little ones who become emotional, but the parents too, especially the mums!
2. Show around the school: Check with the school if they have special sessions for first-time kids. Some schools hold special interactive sessions for kids and parents to help initiate the beginning of school.
3. Take the help of an older sibling: If there is an older sibling at home, or even a cousin who goes to school already, preferably closer in age, let them talk to the child and tell them about all the fun they have at school.
5. Stay Positive: How you react to your child’s first day or days at school will also help set the tone for the little one to follow. If you are sad and especially worried, the signs will be immediately picked up by your child. On the other hand, being happy, cheerful, excited and positive about school will help spread the same excitement to your kid.
6. Make it a big day: Tell your kid how going to school is almost like the grown-up going to office thing. Compare it to your or your partner’s going to office and how your child is now all big and grown-up to be heading off to school.
7. Create a routine: Creating a routine now will help ease your child into the new schedule with ease, and this should be followed for as long as possible. Make sure your child is in bed well in time, and stick to the same timing each day, preferably even on holidays and weekends, at least for the first 5-6 months of beginning school. This will help your child get some stability and understand time better.
8. Assure that you are near by all the time: If your child is crying and showing signs of separation anxiety, assure them that you are just outside the school gate. If it helps, go to the school for the first few days to drop them off yourself, and show them a spot where you will be standing. Tell them you’ll be right there and if there is any problem, they can tell their teacher and you will be with them soon.
9. Talk about the fun: If you got a chance to visit your child’s classroom earlier, point out the fun things you saw there. Encourage your child about the prospect of making new friends, about learning new songs and poems, reading new books, playing with new toys and drawing and all the fun they are going to take part in. Make it sound exciting and something that the child will look forward to each day.
10. Talk about school and share their concerns: Make it a point to excitedly talk to your child each day once they are back home. Ask them everything about school, talk about the teacher and friends, what they did and what they enjoyed. Also listen for any fears and worries and help sort them out.
It may seem like a lot to get your child and yourself adjusted to, but the first stage of tears and anxiety will soon pass and your little one will soon look forward to school. All the best parents!