Survival Tips for Mom Sending a Kindergartner off to School

10 Aug

For many parents of kindergarteners (especially), the looming first day of school brings about a tremendous amount of anxiety.  For some moms, sending a first born off to kindergarten is the first time the mom has experienced a major separation from the child and the child from mom.  Have no fear!  I’m here to share my experience and give you some tips on how to ease the trauma!

One of the ways to make the transition to school easier (on everyone) is to prepare beforehand.  Go over the rules and expectations of the school and talk with your kids about what they need to know about school.  Tour the school!  Make sure your child knows where his/her classroom is, how to get to the bathroom, how to get to the front office, etc.  Read books to your child about beginning school.  You can even role play; “playing” school can help your child have an idea about how to behave and even interact appropriately with other classmates.

Another way to make the transition easier is to consider changing the home schedule.  When my daughter started kindergarten last year, I didn’t plan for this.  For the first two weeks of school, she was so exhausted when she came home she would literally just fuss and/or cry.  I think it would have been helpful to have had her start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier a week or two before school had started.

On the first day of school, I would recommend the following tips:

  • Walk your child in to his/her classroom.
  • Take lots of pictures!  Many moms have had really great ideas about how to make the first day of school pictures creative.  I know of several that are being shared on pinterest.com.
  • Make an impression on the teacher with a small, inexpensive 1st day of school gift.  It can be an apple, a drawing from your child, or a mason jar filled with gumballs and a note that says something like “I ‘choose’ you”.
  • Ensure your child has everything they need: lunch or lunch money, snack, water, supplies, backpack, uniforms, jackets, sweater, and/or favorite blanket or lovey from home- if they will be taking a nap).
  • Don’t cry (at least not in front of your child)!  Perceptions are important, especially to kids.  If you’re crying, your child might worry that you are worried or scared about them being at school and wonder whether they are safe and possibly not want to stay.
  • Attend the pity party after drop off (at my daughter’s school last year it was called the Boo Hoo breakfast).  There, you can feel free to shed as many tears as you need to with the other moms, who know what you’re feeling!  You might just meet your new best friend!

Some other tips for parents who are sending kids off to school for the first time: volunteer to be the room parent or at least get to know that person really well!  The room mom does have some added responsibilities, but she’ll also need help!  Another tip is to tuck a family photo in your child’s backpack.  I told my daughter that if she ever got home sick, she could look at the picture and know that we were always with her!  I once read somewhere that kindergarten is a very important educational year in a child’s life.  Whether they have a good year or bad year, it can set a precedent for their educational “career”.  So lastly, have a positive attitude, be patient, communicate any concerns with the teacher, cooperate with the teacher and/or other parents, and make it a GREAT year!

Do you have experience in sending a kindergartener off and/or want to share your experience or any additional tips?  If so, we’d love to hear back!

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