Most families struggle with saying goodbye on the first day of school so give yourself plenty of time to be with your child before you leave for the day. Every child responds differently to new environments. Some jump right in and start to play while others become teary and prefer to watch the activities rather than participate right away. The best way to help your child prepare for this separation is to talk about it with him or her. Discuss what your child will enjoy doing during the day while you’re away. Be sure to tell your child that you will be back to pick him or her up later in the day. Concrete time frames like “after nap” or “after outdoor playtime” work very well for young children.
Creating and following a drop-off routine will help your child to anticipate exactly when you will say goodbye so that he or she will not be anxious. Plan a drop-off routine with your child that is simple enough that you can follow it consistently. Typically drop-offs last approximately five minutes. You may choose to create a routine that includes reading one book together, waving goodbye at the “Goodbye Window,” or giving each other three hugs then saying goodbye. As the year continues, you may decide to change your routine or shorten it. Please be certain to discuss this with your child so that he or she is not surprised when it occurs.
Transitions often bring with them a few tears. For young children tears are a way of expressing uncertainty about the transition. Some children will be teary during the first few days or weeks of school. Others will be thrilled to explore new experiences at the beginning but may become teary as the newness wears off. By keeping to your routine, your child will see that you are confident he or she will be enjoying school again soon. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help ease this transition for you.