Ahhh.... the first day of school! Don't tell me that doesn't stir up some emotions!
Preschool parents can find themselves feeling a wide variety of emotions at back to school time. Anything ranging from eager to see their little ones get into the routine of school, to loathing it, to feeling sad and nervous.
The reality is, though, that what we're feeling at back to school time might have more to do with our own first-day experiences. So how can we change the focus, and make these back to school days great memories for our kids?
Back to School Tips for Preschool Parents
Focus on the Kids' Emotions
Kids are usually hypersensitive to our own emotions. So if we do have angst, worry, or sadness, the kids may very well be picking up on that. Instead of focusing on our own emotions about the kids heading back to school, we can zero in on how the children are feeling.
Each school year is a new adventure for our children - new teachers, friendships, skills, and information. Even if we didn't love all of our school days, you have to admit the first few days are usually very exciting!
Talk about Going Back to School
Build up the experience by talking about the exciting aspects of going back to school. The thought of new school supplies and fun preschool adventures may help your little one feel excited about the new school year.
Whatever you choose to talk about, the weeks leading up to that first day offers us meaningful opportunities to connect with our kids. It also gives us the chance to discuss any worries our children might have, as well as build enthusiasm.
Read Some Great Books Together
Books are wonderful opportunities to create dialogue, address children's fears, and establish some normalcy around going to school. There are plenty of books about the first day of school and being away from parents. Be sure to add some of them to your current reading material!
Practice School Routines
Establish back to school routines gradually in the weeks prior to the first day of preschool. This will definitely help everyone have a smoother day! Nobody likes to be rushed or unprepared, so already being used to getting up earlier (if necessary) will make everyone more comfortable on the big day. Letting kids pick out their clothes, pack their lunches with things they look forward to eating, and having their backpacks ready the night before will help the morning flow and usually builds anticipation.
Try Not to Linger at the Classroom Door
It's usually best to make that first day transition quick so children can move on to their first day of school.
In the event that your child still holds some anxiety about school, and even if you have a crier, rest assured that preschool staff have helped many a kid through this time. They have spent years training and preparing for all kinds of challenges, and they are likely pros at handling this too. Of course, comfort and love on your little one (and yourself) gracefully, but then move on quickly.
Remember, while these steps kids take without us can be scary, going to preschool is one of many stepping stones to our little people growing into who they are going to be.
Keep Communication Open
I love to leave little notes, drawings, and even little painted rocks in random places for my kids to find. Sometimes in their lunches, and sometimes in their backpacks. This isn't something I do just at the beginning of the year, and it's not an every day thing. But I love giving them little surprise trinkets to let them know my heart is always there with them; that I'm not really so far away.
Are you and your children excited about going back to school? I'd love to hear some of your best tips for preschool parents!