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First Day Of School

Oct 29, 2007
The first day of school is a big moment in a parent's life. Many a mother shed a tear as they watch their youngest head off into the big world, all on their own. Many a child sheds tears too, and that can be a situation difficult to cope with. Children often feel a sudden fear at having to let go and be independent, and they're scared of what they'll have to face at this big unknown called SCHOOL. Helping a child deal with that first day of school is easily done, though, and here are some ways to make sure the transition from home to kindergarten is a moment of smiles for everyone.

Build up the excitement, but don't overdo it. Many parents feel that by talking often about school in an encouraging tone is helpful to preparing a child for the first day of school. That is a good method, yes, but by building up so much anticipation, the moment becomes a BIG DEAL. Some children don't do well with that much buildup and pressure to perform and when the big day comes, a meltdown occurs.

Other children wonder why they're being pushed to be excited about school. If it was some easy thing, it wouldn't be a big deal, right? These children become skeptical about a parent's intentions and end up thinking that all the hoopla over school is some conspiracy to hide something terrible. It's a bit like telling a child, "Now this won't hurt a bit," before the child has even thought that it might hurt. The phrase guarantees that the child leaps to the conclusion that if someone has to tell them it won't hurt, it's because it will.

Talk about school and answer questions, discuss the matter, but use a tone that implies school isn't that big a deal and that everyone does it. By acting like going to school is commonplace, a child will receive the message that it's no big deal, actually relax more and assume he or she can handle the situation. No pressure, no big buildup to some huge moment, and no meltdown.

Parents can also avoid fears by visiting the school and classroom before that first day. Fear of the unknown is a huge factor in how a child handles that first day of school. By visiting the school with a parent before the first day, children can observe the environment and be reassured by the parent. When the day comes to set off to school on their own, the children know ahead of time where they are going and what school looks like. By eliminating as much of the unknown as possible, parents eliminate a good amount of fear their child has to deal with.

A last method of helping a child deal with the first day of school is to always treat the child's fears and concerns as valid. While grown-ups are quick to sweep away worries that children bring up, these worries are very real to the children and should be listened to. Discuss the fears with the child instead of dismissing them. Talk over why your child feels as he or she does and try to use analogies the child can understand to ease worries. Concerns such as, "What if I get lost," "What if no one likes me," "What if my teacher hates me," are important to young people and need to be addressed.

When the day comes, parents should smile and deal with the situation matter-of-factly. Give the child a hug, some reassuring words, and a message of love, and then send him or her off. Don't cling to the child as if you don't want to let go, and don't encourage clinging if the child is having a hard time letting go of you. Keep emotion low as much as possible and keep the situation positive. The moment will be a good one and the day will begin on the right foot for both you and your child.
About the Author
Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our great selection of kids furniture (including our popular toddler beds) and classic toys. Visit www.TheMagicalRockingHorse.com today!
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