It is that time of year again: Back-to-school preparation, excitement and first day jitters! The busy-ness of summer is soon to be replaced by the busy-ness of school. Preparing yourself and your children for back to school includes preparing both mentally and physically for the school year ahead.
- Connect with the teacher/provider. Starting a new school year with a new teacher/or care provider can be intimidating. Scheduling a “meet and greet” can help reduce some of the anxiety for both parents and children.
- Create a back-to-school plan. Be sure to inform your child that they will be returning to school/child care and when the return will be taking place. Be sure to talk though the rules they will need to anticipate in their new space.
- Create a visual calendar/schedule. Create a visual way to inform your child of when they will be returning to school and what their day will look like. Small cutouts and photos of the different activities your child will be participating in that you can pin to the calendar or board will help them anticipate when they begin school.
- Validate feelings. Remember to acknowledge feelings and empathize with your child when those feelings of uncertainty arise. Create a healthy space for them to express themselves.
- Offer reassurance. Let your child know that you have confidence in them as these major changes are taking place. Remind them of a time that they accomplished something difficult and how you will be there to support them.
- Establish a routine. Rituals and routines help children cope. Having a solid morning and bedtime routine can help your child anticipate what their day will look like. Creating a goodbye routine will help them look forward to your return (a special kiss, hug or saying for every time you separate at drop off).
Most importantly, remember to be in tune with your own feelings about separating from your child. Children take their cues from the adults in their lives. If you are worried and anxious your child(ren) can pick up on that. Decrease your anxiousness and communicate with teachers/caregivers to make sure everyone is on the same page. Taking these steps can help lay a foundation for back to school that will help your child to succeed.
Here are some additional resources:
Learn Through Play Daily Activities: August
Help children learn through play by using one of the following age-specific monthly calendars that feature daily activities.
- Learn Through Play Calendar: Infant
- Learn Through Play Calendar: Toddler
- Learn Through Play Calendar: Preschool