Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Preparing for the First Day of School

Can you believe that the summer is almost over?! I know that some of you out there still have a month to go until the kids get back into the swing of things. But here in Arizona, we start school early. It might have something to do with the fact that by now our kids are getting a little restless because it's so hot that they can't go play outside. Whatever the reason, we are sharpening new pencils, loading up backpacks and stocking up on lunch foods.

Whether your child is starting preschool or elementary school, the first day can be a little scary for moms and kids alike. Here are some simple things that you can do to help ease the transition for your little one. 

Helping Prepare for the First Day
Some or all of these ideas might work for you and your family. Always remember to talk about starting school in a positive and calm way.

A few weeks before school starts:
*      Start talking about school starting and how much fun it will be.
*      Be positive and share with your child what they will do there.
*      Read books about children going to school.
*      If possible, meet the teacher and visit the class ahead of time.

That morning:
*      Leave plenty of time to get ready so you’re not rushed or stressed.
*      Reassure them that you will come and get them when it’s over.
*      Please do not bring toys.
*      If they need a security object, have them bring a book to share when it is reading time.

At school:
*      Engage your child in toys that interest them and talk about all the fun they will have.
*     Leave with a smile and a hug. 
If you show your confidence in their new experience by leaving with a smile, they will pick up on it and start to feel more confident as well.
*      When it is time for you to go, keep your goodbye short and simple.
This can be hard, especially if there are tears, but this can be really important for your child to learn that this is a normal thing. In time, they will learn that school is a safe place, but right they need to see from you that you know they will be happy there.
*      It can help to have a goodbye ritual like a special handshake, song, hug, or special words that you always say.
*      Allow the teacher to help your child or go to the teacher if they need help with a project or have questions. 
Helping them learn to get help from the teacher will show them that their teacher is someone they can trust.
*      Always keep open communication with the teacher about your concerns.

After School:
*      Talk about what they did at school that day. 
Sometimes it can be hard to get them to remember what they did. You can ask what they did during certain times of the day. i.e. Math, reading, P.E. carpet time, etc. Or you can just ask them to share 3 things about their day and take whatever they give you. I still do this with my 3rd grader. Some days I get who she played with at recess, what she ate for lunch and where they went for specials. Some days she shares with me more details about her thoughts or what she is learning. Whatever she shares, I take it and know that some days I'll get more information than others.
*      Ask them to tell you about the stories they read or the songs they sung.

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