The first day of kindergarten is fast approaching. So it’s time to get ready for some anxious, tearful goodbyes. And we’re not talking about the kids, this time. Parents, we’re looking at you.
According to a Harvard University study, parents sending their kids off to kindergarten experience three main emotions: happiness, sadness and worry. The happiness comes from their children’s own excitement about starting school. The sadness stems from the realization that their little one is growing up and leaving the nest. And worry mostly stems from parents’ anxieties about their kids “social relationships and vulnerabilities.”
So how do you, as parents, handle the lead up to kindergarten and the big first day? Patch rounded up some advice, but we’d also love to hear from parents who had a successful send-off in years past and those of you embarking upon this milestone for the first time this year. Please add your thoughts to the comments section below.
Children will pick up on your slightest bit of anxiety and will wonder why you are concerned. It is incredibly important to prepare yourself, in addition to preparing your child. Practice what you will say to your child and how you will stay calm. If you feel like you are going to cry, do your best to hold it together until you are out of your child’s sight.
Do not hesitate when you leave. Be prepared for the fact that your child might cry and be upset, but have confidence that the teachers know how to handle the situation. The more you drag out the good-bye, the more painful it will be, and the longer it will take your child to get adjusted to leaving you. If you run back the minute your child starts to cry, you are teaching him that crying will prevent you from leaving, and he will do it every morning.
Get to know your child's school. Sending your child off to a new place can be scary. Alleviate your anxiety when you familiarize yourself with the kindergarten campus as well as the employees.
Contribute to the success of the campus. Most schools rely heavily on the support of parents to make their school year successful. Join the the P.T.A, help in the copy room, head a fund raising project, or serve as a parent tutor. Feel more connected to your child when he starts kindergarten by getting involved.
If you want to spend some time easing your child’s worries at the same time as your own, here's a list of children's books about starting school that you can read with your child.