The Second Day of School

So, your child’s first day of Pre-k or Kindergarten came and went. Everything was perfect, you took your first day of school pictures, kissed your little one good-bye, and watched as they bravely walked into school with a big smile. At dismissal, the teacher told you your child had a wonderful first day and you felt relieved that you didn’t have to deal with the back to school blues.

But then…

Yes, I know, the second day of school arrived and with it came the water works and pleas to stay home. You feel confused and worried? You thought that your child liked school. They were so excited to go and when they came home they talked for hours about how exciting everything was. What happened in 24 hours to change their minds?

There is so much excitement on the first day of school that some children don’t have time to process everything right away. I think for these children the first day of school is like a field trip or a special visit to a new place. After a few days, they begin to realize that this “school thing” is real and that they have to go everyday, and guess what? They don’t want to go.

What are you going to do now?

Fortunately, I have a few suggestions to help with this dilemma.

*Understand that your child has been thrust into a brand new place, with new faces and new rules. We feel the same way when we start at a new job.

*If your child is having a hard time adjusting to a full school day, discuss a temporary 1/2 day option with the teacher and the school office. The school may not approve of this strategy, but it’s worthy of a conversation.  An alternative strategy may come up during this discussion.
*Give your child a family photograph to keep with them during the school day.
*Many children who arrive to school in tears are often fine once they get settled in their classroom.
*Develop a routine and stick to it. When children know what to expect they feel safe. When they feel safe, they learn. When they learn, they thrive.

I hope this helps ease the transition for those children and parents who need extra time getting used to a new school year. If you have additional strategies that you think would be helpful please comment.

A really good book to read with your child about the anxiety of going to school:

Back to School Blues  

The sales, the supplies, the first day of school–the tears?

For many children, parents, and teachers back to school is a time for tears. It can be very stressful for everyone involved.

Take a deep breath, all of you will get through this. Trust me, I taught for 20 years and my students, their parents, and I survived. It wasn’t always easy, but we made it work.
It’s all about communicating with each other and working together to ensure each parent, child, and teacher is successful.

A few things parents can do to help ease the transition:

  • To prepare your little one for their first day of school spend time preparing them for what’s to come. Talk about how the daily schedule will change when school starts.
  • Visit the school. Even if it’s closed, take a walk through the school yard and try to guess where your child will line up on their very first day.
  • Start a bedtime routine a week or so before school starts. Read a book together and try to have your child in bed by 8:30. A good night sleep goes a long way in keeping stress levels low.
  • Give your child a family photo to keep in their book bag or hang in their cubby. Sometimes being able to look at a picture of their loved ones throughout the school day provides comfort to children who are homesick.
  • Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast each morning. Hungry students don’t learn as well.
  • Dress your child in comfortable shoes that are made for school work and recess. (No open-toed shoes or sandals. Sneakers or the school recommended shoe are best.) For safety reasons, I had to exclude children from playing in the school yard when  they wore the wrong shoes. Talk about tears!
  • Let the teacher know about any difficulty that is occurring in your family. When a teacher knows about a hardship affecting a student, he can better understand the child and prepare a plan-of-action to use if the need arises.
  • When school is over ask your child specific questions about how their day was. Ask them what they ate for lunch, what books the teacher read, if they made new friends and what their names are, what was their favorite/least favorite part of the day and why.

Books about back to school: