The first day of school can be difficult for both parents and children. There are some things you can do to help reduce your child’s anxiety and worry to make the first day less difficult.
- Visit the school a few times so it feels familiar to your child on the first day.
- Meeting the teachers before the first day will help your child feel more comfortable.
- Help your child become familiar with the school routine and typical activities so they know what to expect. Most schools will have the schedule printed online or will provide it prior to the first day of school so you can give your child some information about how they will spend their day.
Some tips to help your child with the transition of going to school are:
Take your child to pick out a lunch box or back pack so they can begin to look forward to using their new school supplies and going to school.
Always say good bye to your child, sneaking out might seem easier in the moment but your child will feel abandoned which can create feelings of mistrust.
Avoid long good byes, and try to find a way to make your child laugh when you leave to help them begin the day on a positive note.
Remind your child that you will be back for them after they have fun at school so they know that you will return.
Include a favorite blanket for nap time to provide comfort when they are separated from you.
Cutting sandwiches in shapes or including special snacks or notes will let children know you are thinking about them while they are at school.
Create a positive reinforcement system with different stickers for good days versus difficult days. You can set up a reward like a special craft or outing for several good days.
With a little preparation and positive support you can help reduce your child’s feelings of separation anxiety and minimize the number of tears as children begin school. When your children are happy when you leave them you will feel more comfortable and hopefully it will make it a little less difficult to drop your little one off for the first time.