Sending your child to school, whether it’s preschool or kindergarten, for the first time can be very exciting! It’s the first big step in their life when you’ll have to tell yourself that it’s okay to let go. For many parents, this might be the first time when they are separated from their child for an extended period of time.
While this is such a big step in any parent’s life, it’s an equally big step for kids. There will undoubtedly be mixed feelings: excitement, nervousness, fear. Whether your child is feeling nervous, happy, or a bit of both, it’s your job to make the transition as smooth as possible. To get through the first few weeks of this educational leap of faith, there are a few ways you can both get through it.
Create a Schedule
To make sure everyone is on the same page, create a schedule for the family. You can use this as a tool to prepare your child for the fact that they will need to be somewhere early every day for five days a week. You can also use this as a reminder for yourself since this will be a completely new routine. Actually writing down your new schedule can be extremely helpful since it will serve as a permanent reminder that school is approaching.
Talk About Everyone’s Feelings
Starting school for the first time brings up a lot of different feelings, and bottling up those feelings has never done anyone any good. Encourage your child to talk about how they feel about going to a new place with new people they have never met before. Ask them to make a list of things they’re excited about, and a list of things that they’re concerned about. Tell your child that most kids are nervous about starting school, so if they’re experiencing anxiety, it’s totally normal. If they feel worried about not making friends, tell them stories about your experiences making new friends when you were their age.
For parents who are nervous about their child not getting enough teacher attention, remember that private pre schools and kindergartens provide plenty of student-teacher interaction. The class sizes are smaller in private pre schools, which allow for a more personal student-teacher relationship. In the United States, there are 30,861 private schools serving 5.3 million PK-12 students, and most of these schools are known for their small class sizes and positive environments.
Encourage Your Child to Do Their Best
It’s important for your child to know that you’re there supporting them as they start this important part of their life journey. Leave them notes in their lunch box telling them how much you love them. Ask them about their day after they get home from school. Showing interest will not only help them feel more confident, but it will help you feel more engaged in their new life.
Going to school for the first time can bring up a lot of fears, but also a lot of excitement. Remember the tips above when sending your child off to class for the first time.