Did you know that as much as 90% of your brain is wired between the time you are born until about the age of five? We experience more brain growth during this time than we do the rest of our lives! The first day of school can be a great opportunity to build brain function. Armed with this knowledge, it is plain to see how important it is to foster early education in our children! Yet, surprisingly, a recent study funded by the Kellogg Foundation in partnership with the Early Childhood Investment Corporation found that roughly one in three children aren’t actually ready to learn when they start Kindergarten. Why is that? According to their teachers, a lot of children aren’t receiving the early childhood education or developmental services they need!
The first day of school is tough for every child and it is certainly not easy for parents either – especially if it is your child’s first day ever. Just as it is important to get your child ready to learn, it is equally as important to get them ready for school itself. Meeting new people can be stressful! Fear and separation anxiety are common on both ends! Take a deep breath and try to remember you are not alone. Here are some tips that our Childcare Experts have come up with to help you make the transition!
Leading Up to the “Big Day”
Anything worth celebrating deserves a big countdown! Preschool is no exception. It is vital that you get your children thinking positively about starting school. Here are a few suggestions to pump up the excitement:
- Start having daily pep talks with your child to build anticipation!
- Describe teachers, fun learning games, and how great new friends can be!
- Take fun countdown pictures with your children or create a colorful calendar!
- Read “I Am Too Absolutely Small for School” by Lauren Child!
- Take your child on a tour of his or her new preschool before it starts to meet the teachers!
- Make practice runs for a few weeks to get your child accustomed to the schedule!
It’s Finally Here!
The day has arrived. You and your little one(s) have been gearing up for this moment. Despite your best efforts at preparation, invariably there is going to be anxiety for both you and your child. There may even be tears, but don’t panic! That’s pretty normal. Let’s talk about a few ways to handle the first day jitters:
- If possible, make plans to spend part of the first morning with your child.
- Don’t stay TOO long! Often, the child will stop crying shortly after the parent leaves.
- Talk to your child’s teachers about any concerns you have regarding separation anxiety.
- Let the school be your guide! Experienced schools have helped many parents through this transition.
The First Day Survival Pack
Day one will be tough, especially if it’s your first rodeo, but as with everything, preparation is the key to success. During the first day, it is always good to make sure your child has everything he or she needs to stay comfortable and organized. Besides the standard supplies the teachers may have requested, here is a list of things you can also pack to make sure it goes smoothly:
- A full change of clothes (maybe two sets).
- Any medical information the school may need including pediatrician’s phone number and any medical issues.
- A plastic, waterproof folder for teachers to use when sending home notes and important information.
- A favorite blanket to help your little one adjust to the transition.
- Pack a picture of yourself with your child, especially if it’ll be their first time away from you.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. Helping your child get ready to learn through excitement and anticipation can greatly aid in the first-day stress.
Good luck on day two!