Starting at a new school can be daunting for our children. Guess what? It can be daunting for us, too. I thought I had it all figured out. There was a strategy in place: meet with teachers, let him explore the classroom, and definitely explore the magnificent playground. My plan was set in motion, everything seemed perfect, and then…
Week 1 and week 2
I am not sure how much more I can take; the yells, shrieks, and screams have become louder, his grip stronger, and the excuses to stay at home extreme. Stomach ache-check, sore throat-check, children not saying thank you often enough-check.
From the hugs becoming so tight it may take a crane to pry him from my bosom to leopard-crawling across the school property to remain unseen, nurturing, consoling, and fleeting thoughts of a tequila shot at about 7 am in the morning…it has been an emotional rollercoaster for us both.
But I am not alone. WE are not alone.
Our children have to make new friends and adapt to a new environment, possibly a new curriculum as well. A huge part of their world has changed, so these emotions are understandable.
How can parents make a difference?
Here are a few ways to help make the transition as easy as possible for your child.
- Speak to their teachers-they have insight and have dealt with this many times. Building this connection and allowing our children to see it will help them feel safe in their new environment.
- Try to keep the same routine as in his/her previous school. This made a huge difference for us. We used to put my son’s bag down, and then he would always walk me to the gate (still close to his class). We incorporated this same strategy, and somehow, something so small (to me) has made the biggest impact.
- Let your child have playdates with friends from school before they start as this establishes friendships (I wish I had done this sooner).
- Encourage and praise. Praise them when they have done well and had a good day.
- Get them involved in extracurricular activities that they enjoy.
- Let them get enough sleep–we all know this makes a difference in everything.
- Do not hover around-you need to leave, as horrible as it may be to hear their cries and screams.
- Speak to them about their day and just be there.
- Remember that it will not always be like this-this too shall pass.