10 Ways to Ease Your Child's Transition Back to School
For most young children, going back to school is both an exciting and anxiety-provoking transition. Whether your child is going to school for the first time, relocating to a new school, or returning to the same school, these tips will help you prepare your child for a smooth transition!
1. Visit the school. Take your child to the school a few times to build a sense of familiarity. Point out the places or things that might be of interest to your child, such as the playground, auditorium, and cafeteria.
2. Have play dates with new classmates. This will help your child feel comfortable with other kids in the class.
3. Don’t overemphasize the positive. Highlighting the positive aspects of school is helpful, but try not to overemphasize them because this may create unrealistic expectations for your child.
4. Prepare your child for the first day. Tell your child about the daily routine and help them make a mental movie of the day.
5. Don’t try to fix their fears. If your child feels nervous about going to school, don’t minimize or try to fix their feelings. This may cause them to think their feelings aren’t acceptable. Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them know they are normal.
6. Make goodbye easy. When you drop off your child, don’t draw it out. Try to keep your goodbye short and simple. Also, don’t talk about how much you will miss your child.
7. Start getting into a routine. Sometimes structure falls out of place during the summertime, so you can prepare your child for school by implementing a regular bedtime and other routine habits.
8. Give your child choices. Not going to school isn’t an option, but you can still give them a sense of control with other choices. For example, you can let them choose some of the foods in their lunch box.
9. Play it out. Use dolls and toys to tell a story about going to school. This can be done in a few minutes before bed for a week or two before school starts, and it will help your child know what to anticipate and establish predictability.
10. Ask the teacher for help. If your child has trouble adjusting to school, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher for extra support and assistance.
Most children will weather the transition of going back to school just fine, but some may have prolonged difficulties. If your child continues to struggle after the first few weeks of school, consider talking with a professional about it!
Amy Wickstrom, PhD, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor
For all you parents out there with children headed back to school this week. Yes that is right some schools in Oklahoma start tomorrow August 1st!