Here are some steps that parents and families can take to help their children make a smooth transition to school:
- Visit the school. Drive to the school to familiarize your child with the setting. Talk about the fun things your child might do there with his friends and teachers.
- Assess your feelings. Young children can pick up on their parents’ nonverbal cues. If you feel guilty or worried about your child returning to School, he or she will sense it. The calmer and more assured you are, the more confident your child will be.
- Establish the partnership. When you enter the classroom or meet teachers, be sure to greet your child’s teacher warmly by name. If your child clings to you or is reluctant to participate in the class, don’t get upset because this may only upset your child more. Follow the guidelines described by the teacher or School and go at your child’s pace.
- Say goodbye. Saying goodbye may be hard for young children. As tempting as it may be to stick around, you should follow a predictable farewell routine to make leaving easier. Also, keep in mind that most children do well once their parents leave. Some parents wave from outside a certain classroom window, sing a goodbye song or make a funny goodbye face. It’s important to be consistent and do the following:
- Always say a loving goodbye to your child and reassure him or her that you will be back to pick him or her up later. Once you do, you should leave promptly. A long farewell scene might only serve to reinforce a child’s hesitation about this experience.
- Never sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying goodbye may frighten a child.