My very dear friend, Barb from A Life In Balance, is guest blogging on The Vintage Mom today. She is someone that inspires me and cheers me on every day. Barb is also on of the most amazing moms and most genuine people I know. Today she is talking about something that is near and dear to all of our hearts as we get ready to enter the school year. Check it out!
At back to school time, every kid gets first day jitters, some more than others. As moms, we know which kids are slow to transition and have a negative reaction to new experiences. Sometimes we get blindsided, even if we do prepare ourselves and our child for the first day of school.
My Story: My Youngest Son’s First Day Jitters
Last fall, my youngest son started full-day preschool, and seemed to be doing okay. He voiced some concerns initially about his preschool teacher. He seemed to get pulled into the excitement of getting a backpack and lunch box, like his older siblings. We didn’t have any first day jitters.
I had anticipated some difficulties since my son takes some time to warm up to situations, and he’s very close to me. I talked to his preschool teacher ahead of time, and I wrote her a letter in August about my son to help her help him with the transition.
One day in October, we broke our normal school routine when my husband took my son to preschool while I attended a conference. A few days later the school called about my son. He was crying, and refusing to do his schoolwork. Then, I was asked to pick my son up early from school because his crying was seen as disrupting the class. The teacher and I had multiple conversations. I talked to my son. We tried stuff at home. Finally, I pulled my son out and switched him to a 3-day nursery school where he rebuilt his confidence in himself.
I’m a bit nervous about my son going to Kindergarten this fall. True, he has always wanted to be with the Kindergarten teacher. He knows about the fun his older siblings had in Kindergarten. My son is older and much more confident. He talks to lots of adults now. Still a part of me worries, like any mom would. I’m turning my worries into a plan of action.
Back to School Plan for Success
All of my suggestions are simply suggestions to minimize first day jitters. As a mom, you know your child best. While many of us have options if the current school situation isn’t working, some of us don’t and need to make the best of the situation. All you can do is your best, and keep asking for helping.
Include your child in buying school supplies
Most schools hand out the supply list early. Take your child on a shopping trip to pick out their supplies. As much as you can, help them to personalize their choices. If they need folders, let your child pick out her favorites.
Put notes of encouragement inside your child’s stuff
I remember seeing a permanent note inside one child’s lunch box; they saw that note daily. Other moms and dads write notes on sandwiches or tuck little surprises in the lunch box.
Take your child to school over the summer
If your son or daughter is going to a new school, see if the principal will let them come in over the summer for a short tour. For kids with vivid imaginations, this gives them a realistic picture of what their school will look like inside and what some of the teachers look like. If you can’t go inside, do a walk around the outside and visit the playground to familiarize them for recess time.
Take advantage of the Open House
Introduce your child to the teacher. Mention something fun you’ve done recently as a family, or a book you’ve been reading together. This helps the teacher talk to your child and make them comfortable in the classroom. Sit down at a desk and see what that feels like. Talk to a few kids. Set up a few play dates if possible to give your child some school friends.
Again, seeing what school really looks like helps reduce first day jitters.
Talk about going to school
Ask open ended questions like where would you like to sit? What would you like to eat for lunch? What kind of books do you want to look for at the library? Ask them how they’re feeling about going to school for the first time or a new school. Share your own experiences, good and bad. Kids need to know they’re not the first ones with first day jitters.
Write a letter to the teacher about your child
Teachers generally appreciate any insight parents can provide them. They want your child to succeed. Just remember your child is one student in a classroom. Their needs will be balanced by the teacher with the needs of the rest of the students.
Resources for First Day Jitters
Barb is a mom of 5 kids who spends her day keeping track of socks, stuffed animals, library books, and a 5 year old when she isn’t writing about all the frugality, gardening, cooking, and reading she manages to fit in between the chaotic moments. She can be found blogging at A Life in Balance. Barb can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, and Pinterest.