As hard as it can be for some children to go off to their first day of school, parents are often surprised how hard it can be for the adults. There are a lot of emotions a parent can be going through on day one. None of them are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, but having an idea of potential reactions can help you be more prepared and make your child’s first day a bit less stressful for both of you.

Heartbroken

Getting your little one in their tiny uniform on their first day of school can be such a proud moment. But it is also a moment of realization that your baby is growing up. That can pack a powerful emotional punch. Try to hold off the tears until after you round the corner. The office staff understand and are usually ready with a few extra tissues for first day parents. If your little one sees a tear or two, smile and reassure them how proud you are of their new development.

Guilty

Whether your child is starting school as an infant or a first grader, it is possible for you to experience a sense of overwhelming guilt. It could be guilt at leaving your precious child with strangers or it could be guilt that you are looking forward to having a little adult time in your day. We encourage you to get to know your child’s teachers and center staff. It helps us help you. Part of being a good Mommy or Daddy is knowing how to work with a high quality team to provide your child with a positive learning experience and a happy home.

Uncertain

Your child is about to embark on a lifetime of social interaction. While this is often good, leading to friendships and fun, there can also be challenges as your child learns to negotiate through sharing, clashes in personality, and other interpersonal conflicts. It’s easy to want to step in and help your child make friends, but more important that you allow your child to learn to navigate her social world on her own. Don’t worry, you’re still needed, but determining where to draw the line between helicopter parenting and providing necessary direction is always an uncertain process. Working with your child’s teacher gives you another source of advice and assessment to help you through those uncertain moments.

Whatever you are feeling as your child’s first day of school approaches, treasure the small moments and tuck them away to enjoy on those afternoons he is getting ready for college.

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