Well, it’s officially back to school season! Even though Elouise still has a while before her very first day of school, as a teacher my heart still skips a little beat. This is my second year not prepping a classroom, laying out school supplies, and meeting a room full of sweet new faces. Most of my teaching career was in Early Childhood and I taught Pre-K and Kindergarten. That means that I have seen my fair share of kiddos coming into their very first day of school ever. So I’ve complied 4 quick ways to make sure that your child is ready for their very first day of school.
1. Go visit your child’s school!
Depending on what age your child is, this may be easier to do. Most public schools these days have a meet & greet or practice day for incoming Kindergarteners. Even if they don’t, or if your child is going to preschool, call and see if it’s possible to come for a tour or visit. It takes a bit of the the pressure off if the first time your kiddo sees their school isn’t the same time they get there all day by themselves. The more details you can introduce your child to before their first day, the better. Drop off, the walk to their classroom, even their classroom if possible, the bathrooms, playground, and where you’ll pick them up.
2. Practice your morning routine
I can’t tell you how many of my students would arrive late the first week (some even took a whole month). On top of that they would be frazzled, sleepy, and sometimes hungry because of a hectic morning. No kiddo, or parent for that matter, wants to rush around and have a stressful start to their day. So a week or two before school start to ease yourself into what your morning routine will be like. This way you and your child can practice doing the new things like getting dressed, eating breakfast quickly, packing lunch, etc.
3. Create excitement
I’m sure by now you’ve seen how easy it can be to make something not so exciting seem like the coolest thing ever to your kiddo. I think we’ve all used some variation of here comes the choo-choo train to make veggies more exciting. You are the hype-man in this scenario and you can make the difference between your child dreading and being excited about school. Have conversations about how fun it’s going to be, their teacher, new friends, new books and toys, their playground, etc.
4. Say good-bye with a smile
This is maybe the hardest one to do, but also could be the most important. Every child’s first day of school is emotional for a parent. Whether those or positive or negative emotions many vary, but bottom line is that you have got to be the “rock” for your kiddo. They are going to be looking to you for comfort and reassurance on the big day. If you are clingy, teary, and try to linger, they can easily become uneasy about the situation. If you are positive, cheerful, and encouraging it will be a game changer. Believe it or not, being able to wave goodbye with a smile even when they may be crying, reassures them that they are in a safe and okay place. They trust you and know that if you leave no problem that school must be okay. I also promise you that 99.9% of kiddos are just fine after a few minutes and the ones who aren’t will be treated with kindness and care until they acclimate. It may take a little while for you and your child to figure out the “goodbye” routine but you’ll get there!