August 15th, 2018
By Wanda Kampijan – Wanda has 28 years of parenting experience, raising three unique individuals. She has supported her children’s transition to school 58 times: from preschool to elementary school to high-school to post-secondary schooling. Wanda works for the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo as a community connector. Parents can reach Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-741-8585 x. 3008.
As a parent with children in the school system, going back to school is a time to celebrate. As much as I enjoy the laissez-faire attitude summer time offers, I love the idea of getting back into a routine after a couple of months of “flying by the seats of our pants”.
Children, however, may not be celebrating heading back to school. This transition may evoke feelings of anxiousness, excitement and/or nervousness.
If your child’s temperament is one of jumping right in to new situations easily, this transition may be a smooth one. However, if your child needs time to process change, a plan may need to be put into place to support this transition.
No matter what your child’s temperament is like, it’s a good idea for parents to start thinking about how to support your child going back to school at least two weeks before the first day.
Here are seven suggestions to support your child’s transition back to school*:
- Talk to your child about what going back to school looks like – or if they are entering school for the first time, talk about how their day will look. Encourage them to ask questions to alleviate any anxiety they may be feeling.
- Explore the school before the first day back. Most schools are open the week before the first day – call the school to book a time to visit.
- If possible, be the one to take your child to school that first day. It will mean the world to your child if they can wave goodbye to you as they walk into the building or classroom. Do the same for the end of the school day. They will want to share how their day went with you as soon as possible – the good times and bad.
- Provide a sense of security by assuring your child everything will be ok and you will be there at the end of the day to offer a high-five or hug if they need it.
- It’s ok to negotiate with your child to ensure a successful transition. A new backpack or wearing their favourite shirt – even if it is a pajama shirt – will go a long way in ensuring your child has a good start to their day.
- Tuck a picture of you or their favourite stuffy into their backpack for them to look at when they need a little security moment.
- Have a plan “B” ready for those times when your child is feeling overwhelmed and not coping well with separation. Could you stay for a short time while they acclimate to this new environment? Work with the teaching staff to develop a success plan that will benefit your child in transitioning back to school.
However……even the best laid plans need a bit of tweaking now and then. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! Tomorrow is a new day.
- Wanda Kampijan
*Adapted from a Huffington Post article
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