Transitioning Back to School
It’s that time of year when the excitement is high for kids, parents, and nannies with the anticipation of the new school year. Kids are filled with lots of emotions: anxiety, excitement, separation for the first time for some, scared of starting something unfamiliar. So how do we as caregivers and parents help our kids navigate those feelings?
First and foremost validate those feelings, even if they have been in school before every year comes with emotions, some new some very similar to years past. The big emotions along with the little ones are all O.K. When they are tired, or acting out in ways you haven’t seen, make sure to take a step back and realize their world is in a big transition again!
Take the time to answer questions those little minds have. Find out about the teacher so you can share something fun or exciting about them. Let your children know that all of their questions are being heard.
When you find out who’s in your child’s class network with those parents at an open house and introduce your child. Give them the foundation for friendships.
As the day gets closer get into a school routine. It’s so important that they are getting the appropriate sleep before their school day. Help them choose a new backpack, lunch box, and clothes for the first day. Again, giving some control over this transition and building the excitement.
If they take a lunch and are old enough to help pack it or at least choose what’s in it let them share in that. Having some control over their day can help ease their worries. Throw a little note in their lunch box to let them know you are thinking about them during the day and that you miss them, and can’t wait to hear about their day when they get home. My nanny girls will write a note for each other some days just to wish each other a fun day and they find it in their lunch boxes. They love that little surprise in there.
When your child gets home take the time to check in and again let them know they're being heard. Put your phones away, turn off the tv, and put your work day on hold for a few moments.
If you pick up your children there are lots of fun little questions you can ask on that ride home.
I recently heard a few suggestions that were not the norm that I really liked:
Who brought the best lunch today?
Who did the silliest thing that made you laugh today?
What did you do for a friend today that was kind?
What is something you learned that you thought was really amazing?
Who wore the best shirt or sweater today?
What did your teacher do that made you smile or laugh?
What games did you play at recess?
Who did you play with today?
What challenged you today?
What is the teacher’s most important rule?
These all give us a better insight into our child's day rather than asking How was your day? How was your day is just a tough question at their age, as some of us might feel it is even as an adult.