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Preparing for that Agonizing First Day of School
The first day of school is often an anticipated torture session, for parents and children. Parentsí anxieties are often transmitted to the child. This first is significant in so many different ways to both the parent and the child. First of all thereís another cutting of the umbilical cord in a way, as the child will be totally supervised by a stranger without your presence or following your instructions. You know deep down that this is just the first of many firsts in life. There are certain steps that can be taken to minimize or ease this painful transition and make it into a healthy and challenging expectation instead of one of agony, fear and loss.
Being the sole caregiver makes the child unused to being with others without the presence of the parent. This will make the child anxious, frightened and even feel abandoned to be with total strangers. Children who have been in some type of day care can handle this situation better. They know that mom or dad will be back to pick them up. It would be wise to put the child in preschool, even if itís for just an hour or two and only one to three times a week to allow for this adjustment of being with others. Both parent and child can experience the separation slowly and adjust to the changes without trauma. Some children are not ready for preschool and it would be wise to try some sort of playgroup activities like reading, music class or story telling where teachers give instructions and handle the whole situation while parents are nearby.
It is important to speak positively and make the school sound fun for the child. As a parent, talking to other parents can help you overcome your anxieties. Some schools allow pre-visits before the school begins with reading and games for the child to get accustomed. Shopping for school with the child can be fun, creating enthusiasm and excitement over the new clothes, bag, big kid book and shoes.
Some schools put you in touch with parents just like you, first timers. Meeting other children before school will give the child someone they already know, easing them in and creating a supporting bond. If the school does not share this information, ask the school to pass out a flier or put it on a bulletin board with your information and the parents can contact you and you can make your own group.
It is extremely important for the parent to stay involved with the childís progress. Like discussing the activities of the day and reading books brought back from school. Volunteering to help in the classroom or on trips gives additional comfort to the child as you are seen as being a part of the school activities too. If you handle it right you will find that your little one is adjusted and having a great time and maybe itís you thatís lagging behind.