The first day of school
When your child is about to start nursery or preschool, it can be a very stressful period for moms! Why? Because it is a significant change in both your life and your child’s life. Even though it is a positive and exciting landmark that will lead to so many different experiences, change is change… and we don’t always like it! As humans, this is how we typically react to significant changes in our lives… as exciting as those experiences can be, we may not always love them when they come along and that’s okay!
The nursery or school gate farewell is very often very emotional for both children and their caregivers but there are a couple of ways you can be a little more prepared for it.
Here are a couple of tips that could ease the journey or school debut a little:
1) What to expect when you start school: talk it out
Children have many questions and the more we answer them, the more comfortable they will feel especially when faced with new situations. Talk about the school environment, routine, play, learning and explain what school is all about and what they can expect. Don’t forget to underline positive experiences like making friends, learning skills and having fun!
2) Practice, practice, practice
They say practice makes perfect… well this comes in handy when you are faced with a new situation. Think of it this way, for us adults a first day at work or first day living in a new country can be quite stressful but as weeks pass by, we start getting more and more comfortable. Our children feel exactly the same. Now you may not be able to practice exactly what is going to happen in the classroom but you can create similar environments and focus on the stuff you have at home that your child will take with him to school like the lunchbox! Let’s practice opening it up, eating the snacks and tidying up when we are done! You can also practice sitting on a desk similar to the ones in preschool and so much more! Role play is key here!
Consistency is key to making our children feel comfortable and safe. Setting up a school routine is essential and can help out a whole lot. Practicing a sleep routine appropriate to your child’s age and wake up time to get to school in advance can be very helpful. Eating habits in a timely manner can also habituate your child to specific snack times given in the structure of a school. You can also ask to visit the school in advance and practice driving through there with your child to familiarize yourself and your child to the new setting that will be part of your daily routines! If you can spend some time there, it would be absolutely great for your child to develop a sense of familiarity.
This goes for both Mom and children! It is very comforting to be able to share your experience with moms of children in the same community as you (same grade, same classroom etc.). Don’t hesitate to get yourself out there, talk to other moms, take their numbers, join Facebook or Whatsapp groups and get involved. As for your children, the more they know their classmates, the easier the transition from being at home full time to hanging out at school for a couple of hours. Encourage playdates and get together with other children from your community as well. This will encourage children to build stronger bonds with their classmates and feel more comfortable in the school environment.
They are here to ease the process too. Don’t hesitate to schedule meetings and learn all about the routine and structure of the school. The more you get to know the teacher, the easier it will be for you to know what your child will be up to all day. Teachers can also give you tips to create a similar environment at home and practice some more! Don’t forget you can also send something from home with your child to give him a sense of familiarity in the school setting.
6) No stress
Children can sense when we are anxious and worried and we can easily transfer this stress to them. Even though you may be feeling very anxious, try hard not to show your child that you are struggling as he can quickly pick up on it and feel anxious too. Relax, stay calm and use all of your calming techniques and methods so you can transmit the idea and feel that school is simply an awesome place to be at!