Starting school can be very scary for many children. There are lots of people, new rules, and challenging activities.
If you have a child starting preschool this fall, try these tricks to help ease any separation anxiety and make saying goodbye a reassuring ritual, not an ordeal.
Preparation is key.
Do whatever you can before the big day to get used to the new school: Play on the playground, take a tour, meet the teacher, and see the classroom. Talk to your child about going to school in a positive way, and explain what she can expect. By the time school rolls around, your new student will feel like a pro already.
Special school supplies.
Within your budget, allow your child to help you shop for back-to-school supplies. Find something special (whether sparkly pencils or a notebook featuring a favorite character) that can only be used at school, and your child will be excited to go.
Get the teacher on board.
Your teacher is your best ally. Talk to him or her about how you can work together to help get your child started. Maybe a favorite activity is available right when she walks in the door, or something new could be called to her attention. With the right timing and enthusiasm, your child may not even notice that you’ve left!
Find a routine.
If you can, walk your child to school and pick her up at the end so you can chat about the day. If that's not possible, it's OK. You can find a different routine and stick with it, such as talking about school at the dinner table every night.
Being firm about your school routine tells your child that school is important, and knowing what to expect is comforting to kids. Whatever you do, be wary about keeping your home school-free to “give her a break.” Stick with your routine, focus on the positive, and your mornings will go smoothly.
“The Kissing Hand”
This is a wonderful book by Audrey Penn for children with ongoing separation anxiety, and also just a sweet book for anyone. A raccoon doesn’t want to go to school, so his mother gives him a kiss that lives on his “Kissing Hand” all day. Whenever he feels lonely, he just has to press his hand to his cheek to feel the warmth of his mama’s love. It teaches children to reassure themselves, even when parents are not nearby, and helps them know that other kids are frightened too.
For more books that you and your child can share together about preschool, check out this article: 7 Books to Read to Your Child About Preschool