Preparing for the First Days of School
Preparing for the first days of school can be very scary for both you and your child. Saying good-bye during the first few weeks can be filled with stress and tears for everyone involved. By helping your child transition into their new schedule or environment, you can help ease their worries.
Learning to separate is a lifelong process and an important part of growing up. When you help children learn to manage separations from and reunions with their loved ones, they feel understood and gain self-confidence. A child’s stage of development influences the way he or she reacts to hellos and good-byes. In part, because they involve such strong feelings, hellos and goodbyes are opportunities for valuable learning that affects all areas of young children’s development.
During separation, children will learn about themselves and others, learn about their world, and learn to communicate as well as establish and sustain positive relationships with their peers, teachers, and parents.
Suggestions to Prepare for the First Days of School:
- Talk to your child about the new changes to come (including infants and toddlers) in their schedule or environment.
- Prepare them with what to expect during the transition.
- “Mommy is going to go to work and you are going to go to school.” “Ms. Jennifer is going to take good care of you while Mommy and Daddy are working.” “I will come to pick you up after school is over.”
- Establish a consistent morning routine and try to eliminate rushing in the morning before school. This can cause additional stress to the child and put them on edge.
- Bring your child’s comfort item from homes such as a special blanket or stuffed animal.
- Include family pictures for your child to look at when feeling upset.
- Take pictures with your child in their new classroom. This can provide another way to help children feel connected to their family during the day.
- For those children who are having a hard time transitioning or adjusting to a new classroom or school, leave an object that belongs to a family member reminding the child that their mother or father will be back. You can say “I’m leaving the book I’m reading with you. Will you keep it with your things so we can get it when I pick you up today?”
Suggested Books to Support the Transition to School
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester’s fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children’s classic that has touched the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. It is widely used by kindergarten teachers on the first day of school.
The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.
Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg
Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.
This blog post was sponsored by Rainbow Child Care Center
At Rainbow Child Care Center, our commitment to every parent is the confidence to know your child is safe, comfortable and happy in a high-quality educational environment. Our schools are family oriented and offer an atmosphere where children are respected and parents are always welcome.