My 4 year old starts her 2nd year of preschool today and my 2.5 year old starts tomorrow.
Are you feeling the nerves like I am? I’ll be honest: I’m totally freaking out about my son starting and I’m trying not to cry even as I write this.
Here are my tips for a smooth transition (and yes, I’m doing all of these!):
- Practice self-care so you can ease your own anxiety. Kids are so intuitive and will pick up on your anxiety. Self-care is anything that recharges and refreshes you. If you don’t have that, shoot me a message back and I’m happy to give you suggestions.
- Examples: going for a walk, a girls’ night out, a cup of coffee alone, working out, a long hot shower.
- Talk school up. Think of all the fun things your child is going to do at school and talk about it, a lot. If you are focusing on all the fun, exciting parts of school, your child will pick up on that!
- Validate their emotions. Validating looks like “I know you’re feeling nervous. It’s ok to feel nervous.” Be careful not to dump the attention on the negative emotions. You want to validate without adding to that emotion.
- Set the expectation. Most toddlers feel some level of anxiety in their lives because they don’t have any idea of timing, they have very little control over their days, and they don’t know what to expect. You can change that last part! Walk them through all parts of the day: breakfast, getting dressed, driving to school, drop off, etc. The more the expectation has been set, the better they’ll do.
- When the teacher tells you to drop and run, do it. Y’all. I KNOW how absolutely impossible this is. There is pretty much no worse feeling as a parent than leaving your kid crying in a new place. And this might kill me tomorrow if my little one cries. But, I have worked in SO many daycares and preschools and 97.9% of the time (roughly haha), the child stops crying as soon as the parent leaves. I promise you are helping your child by leaving, even though it feels TERRIBLE.
- Expect behavior challenges. You know how you hold it all together at work or in public and then you’re sometimes not quite as nice to your partner and/or kids? Home is our safe space. That’s where we fall apart. Practice staying calm and lowering expectations for your child the first few weeks of school. And feel free to message me if you need help or just want a reminder that it’s normal!
I hope these tips help with the back-to-school transition. Just a note that my Instagram is still gone. I’m not sure what will happen but either way, I plan to share more strategies here.
Hope you have a great start to the school year!
P.S. If you have a friend with a child starting school, share these tips with them!