The first few days of school could be both exciting and traumatic for parents and kids. It is a period of big change that when not handled properly might bring so much stress to the family. After all, who would want to leave their kids screaming on top of their lungs because they didn’t want to be left in school? It is then followed by that nagging feeling of guilt the whole day anticipating the pick-up time.
Although there is probably nothing that you could tell a child to stop him from crying, there are some ways to handle the situation before it goes out of hand.
1. Establish a Routine
For kids, it is all about routine. The more stability you give, the better it would be. If you drop the kids off at a certain hour, stick to it so the child would not keep on wondering what is the next thing that would happen that might make him feel more anxious. Making the drop off time earlier than the other kids might help, too. Chaotic environment with so many kids worsens that feeling of separation.
2. Give Special ‘Security’ Stuff
A new place will always be overwhelming for kids. Allowing your child to bring something familiar would help to calm his/ her fears. It may be a stuff toy, a necklace with your picture, or anything special that you know might help to pacify him/her.
2. Be Positive
Talk with enthusiasm about meeting new friends and playing with cool stuff to build up excitement. Do not make going to school like something that the kid should dread. Taking that leap into something new is difficult for anyone even with adults. When you are nervous, your child could feel it and build up his anxiety.
4. Say a Short Good-bye
A fist bump, a kiss, a hug, or a combination of everything is all part of routine. Once you say your good-bye, do not linger because the child would feel your hesitation. Saying the same phrase every day might also help.
5. Make a follow-up
During pick-up time, make sure to follow-up from the teacher how your child handled the separation. Some kids snap out of the anxiety as soon as their parents leave. Others however can’t cope well and spend a long time crying. This would give you an overview of how the day went and plan for a better start the next day and lessen the guilt of leaving your child behind.
There is no exponential secret to make the first few days of school easier for our kids. However, there are always ways that we could try to make going to school an enjoyable experience.