Ready, Set, Back to School!
Whether it’s your child’s first time at school/daycare or simply a matter of a return after a long summer, the transition back to school can be stressful for little ones. While children are amazingly capable of adapting to new situations, change can be scary even for us grown-ups, and the need for adjustment time is completely normal. Nevertheless, there are simple things that we can do as parents and loved ones to help ease this shift and make them comfortable in their new environments:
- Create a routine and stick to it. Having a predicable schedule for your child, both at home and at school, can be an important tool in helping them cope with this change. And of course, making sure your child is well fed and well rested will make everything go smoother.
- Prepare your child for their day. Just like with adults, children are scared more often when they don’t know what to expect. Before drop-off, have conversations about what their day might look like, and support them by offering strategies to deal with their worry. Remind them that you will be back to pick them up before they know it.
- Become a master of the brief goodbye. Children constantly feed off our body language, which means maintaining a relaxed and reassuring demeanor while dropping off your child at school/daycare can be the difference between a pain-free goodbye and having a puddle of tears at your feet. If your child is having recurring trouble with saying goodbye, find a time to chat with their teacher about how to make the daily transition easier. Often, keeping it short and sweet may help lessen the blow.
- Remind them – and yourself – that how they feel is completely normal. Change is hard for all of us, and building relationships with new people is something that we all learn over time. While difficult, this phase helps teach your child resiliency and helps them develop attachments. Be there for your child as they process these emotions, and be kind to yourself on days when drop-off didn’t go quite as planned. In time, we all get there.
For more information or to learn more about what you can do as a teacher to help support this transition, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/COVID-19-helping-children-transition-back-to-school.html. Other questions? Contact Help Me Grow by phone at 211 ext. 6, email us at email@example.com, or text HMGVT to 898211.