by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW
In my household these past several weeks, we have been preparing for the transitions that come with heading back to school. My oldest is heading to kindergarten and my middle is going to preschool for the first time. Both girls are excited and getting ready, from having their school supplies packed in their backpacks to having just received their teacher letters in the mail.
Maybe you were able to see my interview on Maranda’s show this past weekend, where I highlighted a few tips that we’re implementing at my home that I think would be helpful for your family too. I wanted to expand a bit on what I mentioned on Maranda’s show. Here are some suggestions for you and your family, if you are sending off your children this school year.
- Decide on a routine and practice this several times before the first day of school. Holding one or two actual practice runs, including wake up time, getting dressed, and breakfast, can reveal what the sticky points of getting out the door in the morning might be. If mom and dad are stressed about the logistics, the child will pick this up, so preparation is key!
- Remember that children communicate through their behavior, so expect a temporary adjustment period as they transition to their new friends, teacher, and daily routine. Keeping outside events to a minimum the first several weeks can be a way decreasing some anxiety and stress that are natural to this process.
- Remember through the transition to include lots of family time—cuddles, hugs, familiar family traditions or favorite experiences at home. Your child will want to be reassured that even though there are a lot of changes going on around them, they can still depend on you—this builds security and trust.
- And, finally, remember to have FUN with the rest of the summer! Enjoy what is left and allow your child to engage these opportunities these last couple of weeks. Keeping your own tendency to “overtalk” the transition is important—children live in the moment, so we want to make sure they can enjoy these moments of summertime.
I’ll keep you posted on how these transitions go for my family—feel free to share how heading back to school is going for your family too.