Whether you child is starting Kindergarten, going to a new school, or waiting to hear who your child’s teacher will be, starting a new school year can be stressful due to the unknown. As an educator and a mom, know you are not alone! There are so many families who are going through the same transition. There are some helpful suggestions and things your future teacher or school wants you to know.
Visit the School
Make sure to walk to campus with your child before school starts. This is especially helpful when your child is starting a new school or Kindergarten. Go to the orientation for kindergarteners or new students if available. At the orientation, you may be able to meet your child’s future teacher or get more information on what to expect. If you missed orientation, ask the office staff about the school and where things will occur (e.g. recess, line up). The office staff is there to help, so ask questions that will help you get acquainted with the school. You can even ask for a tour. It has been helpful for many of my students when parents take their child and show them around campus.
Transitioning to school can be difficult. You want to prepare yourself and your child for what is to come. Mark off the days until school starts on a calendar or a countdown App. Also, sleeping in during the summer gets children out of the routine. Once school starts, children in the primary grades take about two weeks to a month to adjust to the demands of school. You can have your child start to get up earlier and earlier to prepare to get your child’s body for the early schedule. Both of these tips will help your child be ready and alert for the first day of school.
You will want to get your child’s school clothes early. Some children are sensitive to textures on clothes. Having your child break in their new clothes will help them feel comfortable. You don’t want a tag or collar bothering your child at school. We have all had a new pair of shoes that hurt your feet, so breaking new school shoes in first can be helpful.
Taking your child to school for the first time can be difficult. I know I have shed a tear or two. Children need to feel secure and safe. If you are anxious in front of them, they will pick up on this and will be unsure. Take your child to school and take pictures, but don’t stick around too long. The longer you stay the harder it will be for BOTH of you. Many children have some separation anxiety and will cry when you try to leave. Give your child a big hug and kiss and leave. I promise you that your child will stop crying and calm down! It usually takes a few minutes after you leave, but it will happen. Let the teacher take over and help your child become comfortable in your child’s new class. If there are any concerns, your child’s teacher will contact you.
It is totally normal for children in Kindergarten to cry when you leave. For some children. it will take a little bit longer than others to adjust. That is okay because every child is different. Just remember to stay consistent and stay positive. The more consistent you are, the easier it will become for you child. If your child is beyond kindergarten age and is anxious about starting school, AnxietyBC has written some good tips to help your child cope.
I know it is scary leaving your child with someone new, so get to know your child’s teacher. Your child will be with the teacher for a good portion or the majority of the day. You are part of the team that supports your child’s education. In order for your child to be successful, it is a team effort.