It’s that time of year again when the great shift happens. Suddenly, the ‘carefree, lazy’ days of summer turn into the workaday scheduled routine of the school year and parents everywhere heave a collective sigh of relief.
If you’ve been a parent for a while, you might already be in column B, or the bottom part of the .gif above, celebrating the end of another long summer of “how do I keep the kids entertained.”
But most of our parents are still in column A, getting ready to send their precious babies off to Big Kid Kindergarten and wondering where all those precious moments went.
Don’t worry, they’re not over yet. You still have years of precious moments to enjoy, but here are a few tips for making that first day of school a bit less stressful.
Going to Big School
For students attending our private Kindergarten, there isn’t as much of a drastic change in the daily routine as there might be if your child is off to public school for the first time.
However, even when going to the same familiar building, there can be a lot of stress involved for parents as you try to ensure you have all the necessary clothing, school supplies, shots, medical check-ups, registration forms, etc.
Believe it or not, your kids are picking up on all that stress! The more stressed you feel about them going to their first day of kindergarten, the more upset they will be about the event as well. It undermines their confidence and sense of competence in being able to handle the scene on their own.
To alleviate this, try to have all of the purchases made in advance – as in, hopefully by now, you’ve already finished. Last minute shopping or trying to get forms submitted on the first day of class is only going to make things that much more difficult.
This doesn’t mean you need to hide things from your children, though. It’s okay and even recommended to talk with them about how they’re feeling, let them express any fears, and let them know that even when mistakes are made – like maybe you forgot they needed that extra box of Kleenex – they can be corrected without it destroying the whole day.
If you don’t already have one, now is a great time to start enforcing a school-time bedtime. Children need plenty of rest to perform at their best. Experts recommend at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Do the math and try to get them settled into bed 10 ½ hours before they need to wake up in the morning. Establishing this as routine now will save you a lot of headache on day 1 and the days to follow.
Finally, do what you can to get to know the adults that will be involved in your child’s school day. Meet with the principal and share any concerns you may have about your child’s overall education. Meet with their teacher to know what kind of academic approach he or she may take and let them know about any special considerations that can help both your child and the teacher have a better day. And don’t forget the school secretaries, nurse, and other adults that function to help keep schools running smoothly.
At Premier Academy, we host a special Meet the Teacher night before the start of school to give parents this opportunity. Many other schools do this as well. Taking advantage of each opportunity you have to maintain open and friendly communication with the school and with your child about school can help prevent bigger issues from developing.