Make Your Child’s Transition Terrific

Sep 14, 2012

So many parents and children count down the days until school begins. New folders, backpacks and lunchboxes are purchased; outfits are carefully chosen for the first day. The start of nursery school, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten can be especially exciting and scary for both children and parents because for many students, it is the first school experience.

Parents can do many things to make the transition to school easy; here are a few:

  1. Establish a school schedule that your child can follow throughout the school year. This means going to bed and waking up at a consistent time each day as well as establishing meal times. In addition to adjusting to classroom life, many children feel a physical strain when daily routines are changed.
  2. Help your child understand his or her emotions by guiding them through happy and sad moments. If your child cries when dropped off at school help him or her to understand that the emotion being felt is sadness and sometimes that means crying. If he or she is smiling and laughing with friends when you show up at the end of a session, let your child know that happiness is being felt and laughter and giggles often accompany that emotion. In the early childhood years children are not aware of the names and definitions of feelings; he or she simply feels a rush of an emotion and reacts. If you guide your child through this emotional time he or she may start to grasp that emotions are temporary rather than permanent.
  3. Limit your child’s intake of foods that are high in sugar. Due to the fact that children do feel extreme emotions centered around the start of the school year, parents should take special measures to limit other factors that may create highs and lows emotionally for children. Foods high in sugar create these highs and lows for children; these food-induced emotional highs and lows coupled with the anxiety, sadness, excitement or happiness that a new school year brings could set your child up for an unnecessary emotional roller-coaster.

No matter how much preparation and planning a parent does for the first day of school it can often be emotional for both the child and parents. Parents should take comfort in the fact that they have taken the time to choose a school that is right for their child, and every child’s classroom is equipped with a teacher who is a professional. Parents should take advantage of the expertise teachers have, and communicate with a child’s teacher to ensure all the adults in a child’s life are working together. There may be tears shed, however, keep in mind that these feelings are only temporary, and a child’s tears should not make a parent loose confidence in the decision to send a child to school; this transition time is short and children will benefit in a myriad of ways.

Most importantly, remember that school is lots of fun and children thrive when given the opportunity to grow and share in an environment of their peers.

Wishing you peaceful parenting,
Christin Clark