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Five Ways to Ease the Back to School Transition

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Starting school can be scary for children and parents too, but with the proper precautions, it can be a fun, new experience for both your child and you.

1. Tour the school with your child beforehand.

Introduce your child to her future surroundings and show her that there is nothing to fear. She will feel more comfortable attending her first day if she has an idea of what to expect.

2. Practice the new routine with your child.

Your child will not be familiar with the routine of his new school. Collaborate with the school and find out what he will be doing during the day, at lunchtime, recess, naptime, etc. Start getting him into that routine at home by saying, “This is what you will be doing when you start school as a big boy!” If your child has lunch at home at the same time as lunchtime occurs in school, he will feel more comfortable eating lunch at lunchtime in school.

3. Talk to your child about getting along with classmates.

While we cannot imagine anyone being mean or rude to our little ones, sometimes children do not get along with others. It is important to explain to your child that he should not get upset if there are issues with other classmates such as not sharing or not being included. Talk to your child about proper etiquette with other classmates and tell him that he can and should always talk to his teacher if he is feeling sad or left out.

4. Discuss using the bathroom and practicing proper lavatory hygiene with your child.

A lot of children do not feel comfortable using the school bathroom. When starting school for the first time, your child may be afraid to go. However, having an accident can be very embarrassing for children. Before school starts, explain to your child that she will need to use the bathroom and wash her hands without your being there. Mention it a couple times a week so that she becomes familiar with the idea.

When you bring your child to the bathroom on her first day of school, ask her if she would like to use the bathroom before you leave. She will feel more comfortable in this unfamiliar bathroom with you there.

Explain to your child that he must approach his teacher and tell her when he needs to go to the bathroom. Seeing you clarify this with his teacher will make him feel comfortable about going to the bathroom with her. If your child is shy about needing to use the bathroom, inform his teacher of this so she can ask him periodically if he needs to go.

5. Listen to your child.

Before your child starts school, ask her questions about how she feels.

  • What does she think school will be like?
  • What are some of her worries?
  • What excites her about going to school?

Asking these questions will give you an idea of what your child is expecting and how to help her cope with her fears. After addressing her concerns, come up with solutions to help ease her nerves. End the conversation with what she is expecting. This will leave her cheerful about her first day of school rather than concerned about it.