Some children have difficulty adjusting to a new school or new care providers.
Here are some suggestions from the Lutheran School of Lexington.
To help smooth the transition back to school, it is important to get your child comfortable with being away from his/her parents.
Practicing separating and reuniting over the summer will help smooth your child's transition in to the new school year.
Below are a few exercises to practice to prepare your child for separation.
These activities will increase your child's comfort with separating and help them adjust to a new environment. These exercises can be found in the book:
I Break for Meltdowns by Michelle Nichlasen and Barbra O'Neal.
Please understand that these exercises are only suggestions to help your child adjust and relieve some stress or anxiety caused by separating from a parent, especially if your child has not attended a daycare or school environment.
- Decide on a short routine you will do with your child when he/she arrives at school. For example: read a book or work a puzzle for a few minutes then give your child a kiss or a hug and leave. Stick to this routine as long as you need to or until his/her drop-off anxiety decreases. Remember to arrive with enough time to perform the routine. However, some children do much better with a fast drop off and no lingering. For example: give one kiss or hug and leave.
- Do not look worried or stressed when you leave. When it is time to leave, give your child a kiss and say "I'll see you after the playground," or "I'll pick you up after the end of the day prayer," using a more specific time frame than the end of the day. Smile, wave, and leave. Do not sneak out. If he/she is crying, clinging, and won't let you go, then place them in the arms of a teacher.
- Try a role play drop off scene at home, pick a doorway and pretend it is the door to the classroom, have one parent play the teacher and the other play the parent.
- Review with your child what they should expect. Go through your mini routine all the way through saying goodbye. Knowing what to expect goes a long way.
- Talk about the benefits of school to your child. On the way to school if your child is pleading with you to stay home, it can be helpful to list all the things you need to do that day, or explain the benefits to staying at school.
- Children are resilient. Remember as sad as your child looks when you drop them off, most children snap back to a good mood just minutes after you leave.
- Help your child with play dates. If you will be transitioning your child to a new school, try to set up some play dates with a fellow classmate. Familiarity with a few friends will help your child feel more comfortable. Play dates are another opportunity to practice separating and reuniting.
- School Routine: Talk to your child about what will happen during their day, and review their daily schedule.
- Refrain from reentering the room or peeking in the windows. It causes more stress when your child sees you but is unable to go to you.