From your bedroom at night, you can hear your child tossing and turning. You can hear this, because you are awake tossing and turning. It’s back to school time, which also includes the back to school jitters both for children and moms. This feeling of anxiety is normal for both you and your child. Whether your child is starting school for the first time or has become a seasoned pro, school time is nerve racking. Here are some helpful tips to relax your child and bring their fears to a rest:
1. Take them to the school: A few days before school begins, get your child really excited about the school. If it’s a new school then take them there a few times, maybe walk through the halls, find their classroom and pick out where their locker will be. If your child is a returning student then visit the school anyways, go for a walk around the grounds and get your child to tell you fun stories from the previous school years, about friends and teachers, help them remember how much fun school is. This will also help you remember that your child enjoyed themselves, and even though they may be scared now, in a few weeks this will all be forgotten and they will be running out to the bus to meet up with friends again. When you’re walking around the grounds, make sure you point out all the exits and where all the crossing guards are going to be, explain why this is very important.
2: Review the route: If you can’t be there everyday to pick your child up, and there isn’t a direct school bus route from your front step to you child’s school, then you are more then likely going to want to review the route. As you drive by the school the last few days before the end of summer, take time to review the path from your home to the school. Make sure you child becomes familiar with their surroundings. Make them choose landmarks they can’t forget and choose spots that if need be they can stop at. As the date comes closer, get your child to lead the way in the car, ask question such as, “where should I turn next?” make sure you don’t help out, see how well your child can find their way home.
3: Start talking about back to school shopping: Once your child feels a little more at ease, then start talking about back to school supplies, what they would like, explain what they are going to need. Set a day where the two of you can have some mommy and me time, and make a day of back to school shopping. This will make your child feel more grown up and a part of the planning process will keep them in the loop and become more excited about the big day. Mommy Tip: Make sure everything they take to school is well labeled so they don’t end up in the lost and found piles!
4: Adjust your clock: Now that the day is fast approaching, your child may not be accustomed to going to bed at a regular time, or getting up so early for a full day. If your child is tired and cranky the first day or week of school this will make nothing run smoothly. One week before school, start a new bedtime, and start getting them up in the morning earlier and earlier. This will make the mornings easier for them AND you.
5: Check your lunch ideas: As important as back to school shopping is, so is choosing their lunches. Make sure everything you’re sending your child with to school, is kid friendly. Some straws challenge most adults and not all zip-locks are as easy as one, two, three. Pack everything in a lunchbox or bag, then sit with your child and show them everything your going to be putting in it, and how to open and close everything. Remind them if they need any help, they can always ask a teacher or lunch aide.
6: Get a library card: Take your child to a local library and sign them up with their very own library card. Education is the most important part of going back to school and all teachers, including early childhood educators, encourage reading even from very early ages.
7: Celebrate the NEW YEAR: The day/night before is going to be the longest, make sure you make lunch the day before and put aside some time for your child to pick out their own back to school first day outfit. Have a special dinner that night; throw a “Beginning of the Year” party with hats, blowers and a cake. Take pictures of your child and mark their height inside a closet door. Make it exciting and a big deal, this is a very exciting time for you and your child, they grow up so fast, both of you should enjoy these times. However you choose to celebrate the new school year, make it an annual event. Memories are one of the most precious things you can give your child. They’ll be quick to remind you about your annual back-to-school celebration the first time you forget.
8: The Big DAY: For the first morning, make a good breakfast and leave a little early, so you have time to walk your little one in and make sure they get to their class okay. Take a second to talk with their teacher, the teacher may not have a lot of time, but they will take a second to reassure you everything will be fine.
Remember this is harder on you then it is on them. Enjoy these times, they go by so fast!