Helping Your Child Adapt to the First Day of School
Going to school is a big adjustment for everyone, but it can be especially difficult if this is your first time sending your child to school.
You may have already formed several questions about what to do when that day comes. At the end of the day, you want to make sure your child will be safe and happy and worry as little as possible when they take the first step towards their education. You may be feeling unprepared or jittery right now about the going back to school season, so here are some strategies to help your child adapt to their first day of school.
1- Address Your Child’s Concerns
No doubt you have already been talking about your child going to school with them, and you may have started to see their reluctance whenever you mention the subject. Make sure to set some time aside to talk to them about their concerns and any other questions they may have. For them, their worries may have simple solutions to you but to them, they are very real and challenging, so keeping a calm disposition will encourage them to voice their concerns which you will be able to answer with solutions. For example:
- “What if I get lost?” Walk with them to their classroom for the first few days of school, so they memorize the journey.
- “What if I forget my bus number?” Write it down somewhere for them and put it in their backpack, so when the time comes, they know where to look for the number and their bus.
- “What if you don’t come back?” Reassure your child that you’ll be back outside their school at the time school ends, that way they carry that reassurance with them throughout the day, and they know where to look for you later.
2- Help Them Make a Friend
If your child knows one of their classmates, they will feel comforted with the fact that they’re not alone. Ask your neighbors or friends if they’re sending their children to the same school as your child, or get to know some parents on the first day of school. Having a friendly face there will distract your child from their worries and make the transition easier. Great news: Ridgeview Charter School students are super friendly!
3- Establish a Routine
Going to school comes with a bundle of new challenges, one of them being the adoption of a new routine. You don’t have to make any huge changes, but put some time aside during mornings, so your child can prepare for the day ahead, especially on that first day.
Peaceful mornings also help with anxieties, so keep that in mind as well when you’re waking up your child or having breakfast together. Consistency in their routine will help them learn what to do each morning, and they’ll be able to adjust quicker.
4- Reassure Your Child
On the first day of school, it’s important to keep a happy face for the sake of your child. If they see that you are worried, it will eventually reflect in them, so it’s key to remain calm around them. With all your efforts made to prepare them for this important day, they may still have some worries in the back of their mind. This is completely normal and to be expected, especially when they step into their school for the first time. Reassure them by pointing out all the other parents and kids there—everyone is there for the same reason, and your child will be able to relate to their peers.
5- Keep Goodbyes Short and Sweet
The key is not to linger. Drawing out the goodbye increases your child’s anxiety, so offering your child a reassuring message like “I’ll see you soon!” or “I’ll be back at 2!” before leaving is better than staying for a longer time or sneaking away. The first day is always hard, but hang in there! Each day that follows, things will get easier than your child adapts and learns how to be on their own at school. This will also increase their confidence and their worries will be gone in no time. Remember, applying these strategies will give your child independence as they start to navigate life without you, which is just another part of growing up!