1st day of School
Even if your newbie preschooler will be away from home for just a few hours, the 1st day of school is always a big step for someone wearing wearing such little booties.
Yep…it’s finally here…that time of the year!
At 7’clock the alarm rang sharp!!!We were all excited to get out of bed. Sienna knew she was going to school, but as all 2.5 years old toddler, she isn’t/wasn’t aware of the 1st day of school. For her, she thought she was going to see Margarida, Jaque and Olga…and all her classmates from Nursery. She had no idea a new school, new teachers, new friends, new atmosphere, new schedules and new routines were about to greet her! Specially when her gap between nursery and preschool were of 2 weeks only.
For a week, we have been showing her pictures of her new teachers as well as her class room and her uniform. Her response was great. We were all happy and confident that everything was going to go well on her 1st day of Kindergarten. As parents, we believe that anticipation is key, specially when something…something big is about to change in your kids life. Like for example, a change of teachers…more so then the change of school.
Parents of toddlers like us, heading to preschool for the first time have lots in their minds – and is just so normal!! I couldn’t stop thinking about it since March, when we had enrolled our little Sienna.Separation anxiety can rear its ugly head at any time during your little one’s preschool experience, but making the first day a good day helps set the tone for the school year to come. Understanding you aren’t alone when it comes to finding solutions is key, as well as sticking with a routine.
See what we have learnt from last year’s – when Sienna first started nursery. I am not saying that is easy…i’m saying that it get’s easier and trust me, i am probably the most emotional creature around. I couldn’t hold my tears today, again…they just rolled down my cheeks without excuses!But nothing compared to the 1st weeks we had last year…The separation anxiety was bad…from Sienna and from us…specially being pregnant at that time…where the hormones were pretty much everywhere…ai ai…i will always remember…
Here are a few helpful tips that you might consider in order to create a less painful drop-off!!!
- Don’t rush through the Morning – No one likes to race through the school morning routine — especially on the first day. So get everyone up at a reasonable hour. That way, you won’t have to hurry your child as he munches through his morning meal — or risk being late because you had to tame your frazzled tot’s tantrum.
- Arrive fashionably early – This way, your little one can slowly settle in before the real action starts. He’ll also get more face time with the teacher, too, which will be tougher to do once all the other kids are there to vie for her attention.
- Make a plan for the first day of school and then stick with it (we made ours 2 weeks in advance). Your tot works well with routines, and when they are broken, things can go downhill fast. Whether it’s reading a book before drop-off or a special kiss, sticking to a routine means early-morning success. Make sure to chat about the routine with your child before heading to school so she knows what to expect.
- Discuss with the teacher what the recommended amount of time is for hanging out on the first day and stick to it. If 10 minutes is OK, then watch the clock — and your tot — and then say goodbye. Showing your child that you feel confident about leaving her at school let’s her know it is a safe place to be. It may seem like a good idea to sneak out if she’s having fun, but it’s best to give a quick goodbye hug and a peck on the cheek before heading out. I admit that i was there for maybe 30minutes…and i was the last parent leaving the classroom…
- Walk away even if your kid is sad – Probably the worst thing we have to do…is painful enough to see your baby sad, and still you are supposed to leave?In the midst of tears and sadness?It just break our hearts but i know that this is what we should be doing.We all wish for happy kids at drop-off, but sometimes things don’t go that way. Even if your tot is still a bit sad after you’ve said your goodbyes, it is still time to walk away. Unless you feel your child is a danger to herself or others, asking a teacher for help and walking away from the situation allows the teacher and your child to work through what’s going on.
- Keep good-byes short n’ sweet – When it’s your cue to make an exit, hold back your tears a little longer (smiling helps unscrunch those furrows in your worried brow), give your new preschooler a hug, and let him know when you’ll be back (“Mommy/Dadda I’ll pick you up after lunch”). Then head out — don’t linger (he can’t get on with his day until you do). And no matter how tempting, never sneak out when your preschooler is looking the other way. It’ll make him feel insecure and less trusting.
- Just remember, it’s normal for kids to have a meltdown when it’s time to separate (though many don’t). But even if your child is howling like a banshee and clinging like a barnacle, chances are he’ll be fine five minutes after you walk out the door. If it’s taking a while for your little one to adjust, don’t panic — preschool teachers (and their assistants) have seen it all and they know just what to do, so ask his teacher for help. Just don’t be surprised if your child’s too happy to say hello to you (or talk about his day) once preschool pick up rolls around!
- Trust the teacher – You picked the preschool because you trusted the teachers and staff. Understand that they are professionals who love their jobs and want to work with your child, meaning they will do everything possible to comfort a little one when sad or anxious. Trust that even when you aren’t there, your child is being treated with loving care and the teachers will do what is right in the situation.
- Don’t Let Them See You Sad (that didn’t happen), seeing your child having a total meltdown is not fun or easy, but don’t let her see that you are sad too. Kids feed off others’ emotions, so when they see someone they love in distress, they often mimic the behavior. Keep a smile on your face — even if your heart is breaking — give lots of reassuring hugs and kisses, and leave.
- Call and check in – (yep, we did that, we even had pictures sent through whatsap) – Don’t fret if things didn’t go as well as you’d like at drop-off; it’s totally normal for things to be a bit bumpy at first. Worried your child hasn’t calmed down? Ease your mind by giving the preschool a call, but try to wait at least 30 minutes before reaching for the phone. This allows just enough time for your child and teacher to get adjusted.
- Be on time – If pickup is at 12:30, then be there at 12:30! This ensures your toddler understands that Mommy and Daddy always come back and are trustworthy, building a bond that encourages healthy behavior and self-confidence in your toddler. Create a pickup routine, just like at drop-off, that is comforting and enjoyable. Sing a special song, snuggle in a quiet corner of the classroom, or enjoy an exciting activity once everyone is home.
Love and Good Luck,