There’s some debate in my mind, is the first day of elementary school harder on mom who is watching her little baby go off with his backpack into the big, wide world. Or, on the little baby himself who feels all mature and grown up and might just be a little unsure if he’s ready for this big new school.
I’m still not sure what the answer will be in our house. I’m confident I’ll drop my son off for his first day of Kinder and be a mess of tears the minute he leaves the car. BUT will he keep his excitement he’s shown all Summer, or will the week of school come around with a barrel of nerves and anxiety?
While I’m not sure how he’ll react when the end of August rolls around, and his school career begins, I do know some tools I’m using to help prepare him and make the transition as easy as it could possibly be.
The first thing is I’m making sure that he doesn’t hear negative talk about school. Sure, I’m barely keeping it together that my TINY BABY is headed off to Kindergarten in a few weeks, but he doesn’t need to know that.
I keep my emotions in check around him and we only talk about the amazing time he’s going to have and any reservations HE might be having. In this way, I’m careful not to pass any of my own nervousness or anxiety on to him and he’s free to go have a wonderful first day of school without any of mommy’s worries weighing him down!
It’s my job as a parent to teach him how to deal with his own fears and emotions, not to pass mine on to him, and the first step to that is making sure that everything I say about school is from a positive and excited perspective.
I also take the time to help him imagine what school will be like. We talk about what he’s most looking forward to, and I ask about his fears. This creates a safe space for us to talk and imagine together and comfort any nervousness he may be having.
Today, we talk Kindergarten, but my hope is as we continue this tradition of chatting in his room at bedtime, we will continue to share hopes, dreams and fears that he might have as an ongoing conversation through the years.
The next thing we’re doing to prepare for Kindergarten is reading some stories. I compiled a whole list of great storybooks that talk about going to Kindergarten for the first time and you can see them all there. You can find one that fits your child’s personality and go through it with them a few times before the big day.
Lastly, we’ll be doing a little trick that we learned this past school year from my son’s preschool teacher.
It’s a kiss in the hand.
Before the first day of school, every mama, daddy or caregiver kisses the palm of their brand new Kindergartener as the child scuttles off into the school building.
This is not just any kiss though; it’s a special type of kiss that lasts all day. You hold it in your hand and it will stay there until you see mommy again.
Anytime you’re sad, anytime you miss mommy or daddy just open up your hand and you’ll know there’s a little kiss in it just for you!
My son was mesmerized by this idea last year, and I know we’ll be using it again this year.
It helped him work through his nerves, as he got accustomed to a new preschool room, new teacher and mostly new friends.
This year, he’ll be in a new building, have all new friends and be at school longer than ever before, so he’ll need that little kiss to get hi through the day.
In all, we are super excited for this new chapter in all of our lives! How are you helping your little kindergartener prepare for the new year? Share your tips in the comments!