Summer is coming to a close and the backpacks have been bought as you await the back to school excitement, newness, anticipation and for some even some back to school anxiety. Having worries for back to school for our children is totally normal. Remember your first day on the job and your butterflies the night before? That is the same for our littles! Here are a few Tips + Tricks + Resources to help you and your little get through:
Tip #1- Routine
Try to start getting back to a routine that resembles a school day/night a few days early. Summer is fun and we all let bedtimes slide and memories be made J. Start thinking about shifting to ensure your little will be up in the morning with enough sleep. A fun way to do things is to also do a “practice run” where you wake up and leave the house at the same time you would need to for school. You can head to the playground to play and then continue on with the day. Visiting the school playground also helps ease some of those worries as it lends itself to talk about the first day and it helps to be at the familiar ( or new place) with parents prior to the first day.
Tip # 2- Avoid Reassurance
As we chatted about, a certain level of worry or “butterflies” is normal for the first day and even first week of school. We’d expect to see more of these feelings for littles entering school for the first time or those going to a new school. When the feelings of worry come up as you are chatting about school, validate and be with them, rather than trying to make them feel better right away. It might sound something like this “ Mom, I’m scared, I don’t want to leave you , I don’t want to go to school “…. Parent response “ Doing new things is scary and sometimes hard” you can take it a step further and say “ and I know you are brave and can do hard things”. Telling our littles they will be “okay “ or “it will be fine” ( which we all do- be gentle with yourselves) doesn’t help empower them and dismisses their feelings which sometimes just makes those feelings grow.
Tip # 4 Build Invisible Bridges
Whenever we are away from our children we always want to instill the message that we are “with” them in their heart and we are carrying them “with” us in our heart. It’s a simple concept that can go a long way in easing those separations for littles. Some cute ways to take this a step further is to use something to put in the pocket, backpack or even a bracelet to represent this idea. The parent can keep one and the little can keep one as an anchor and reminder. Making a simple string bracelet or using a little rock or stone are some of our favourite ideas.
Two stellar books to help illustrate this concept are:
The Kissing Hand- Audrey Penn
The Invisible String- Patrice Karst
Have a visit to your library or local bookstore to have a peak for any other titles, They have lots on display. We are in the transition to preschool over here too and we picked up a “ The Night Before Pre School” book at target this summer.
Sending all the best to Brave Littles and Brave Mamas + Papas + Remarkable Caregivers to do new things and hard things! Yay for routine! You are brave and can do hard things ( like get out of those house in time , with lunches packed and all those forms signed without having to change your outfit due to an epic spill ) 🙂
If you have any questions, please be in touch!
Melissa & The Growing Roots Team