Our Tips for a Smooth Start
Our Tips for a Smooth Start
So, the summer is almost over, autumn is nearly here and we all know what that means: the beginning of a new school year! For many parents, after a long summer, a return to a routine is a welcome change. However, for many parents, the beginning of the new school year is a time of slight (or a lot!) of anxiety as they begin a new chapter in their lives along with their little one.
Leaving your child at school for the very first time can often be an intimidating idea and the anxiety of separation is as real for you as it is for your child. Each year, we are very used to nervous parents walking up to our gates on the first day of school and we completely feel for them when they have to leave the person they love the most in the world for the very first time.
For some families, the first week of school is a smooth one: their little one in completely ready to meet their new friends and enter in to this new chapter of their lives. They easily separate from their guardian on the very first day, not shedding one single tear. And then, there are the other families – the majority of families – that have a hard time separating for the very first time. There are a few tears (from both child and parent!) and they need that little bit of extra help!
Well, based on our experience, we are here to try and help make your start to the year a little bit more smooth and a lot more of a pleasant experience with a few simple tips.
A Dry Run
A few days before you are to begin school, drive your child to their new school. Explain to them that this is where they will meet lots of new friends and spend so much time playing with all of the games and activities inside.
It is also important to explain to your child what exactly is going to happen: that you will drive them to school every morning after breakfast (remember that children do not understand time but they do understand time based events such as “breakfast time”) and they will stay to play with their friends while you go and do some work and pick them up as soon as you are done with your work.
It is important that you maintain a positive tone when referring to the school and make your child feel your excitement. When adapting to school, it is always important to remember that your child will feed off your own energy. If you are happy, they will be happy, if you are nervous, they will feel nervous.
If possible, it would be beneficial to show your child photographs of their new school using the school’s website or social media pages. This helps your child familiarize themselves with the environment before they get there so their first day will not be the first time they are seeing the school premises.
The First Day: Do Not Rush but Never Linger
Firstly, and most importantly, as mentioned above, ensure to keep a cap on your own emotions. As with everything, our children look to us very often to decide how they should feel about something. If they sense your nerves, they will not be able to understand why, but they too will feel anxiety. If they see that you are happy, positive and excited, this will have the effect of “if Mummy/Daddy likes this place, that means it must be a happy place”.
When leaving your child, make sure to make this act swift but not too rushed. Leaving too fast may cause your child to panic, but lingering may lead to stirred up emotions.
Never Leave Without Saying Goodbye
Leaving while your child’s back is turned is never a good idea. It can cause insecurities that are often difficult for the child to recover from quickly. You need to help your child understand that there is nothing wrong with goodbyes – remain cheerful and relaxed so that they feel that too! Let them know you love them and that you will always come back. Give them a kiss and a hug and leave swiftly without returning, even if you hear them crying.
Based on our experience, children do not cry for long at all. Once parents are gone, teachers will always use different activities and resources to distract your child and cheer them up.
Finally, try and remember that the adaptation period is temporary and will pass with clear communication, understanding, consistency and cooperation.
Stay calm, be positive and enjoy this new chapter in your child’s life!
Good luck to you all for your new school year!