Preparing Kids for the Challenges of the First Days of School

It’s hard to imagine what goes on in a little one’s mind when he goes to the big school, but you can help him overcome some fears by talking to him before hand.
For example, many kids at pre-school and even kindergarten level, are nervous about the bathroom. Reassure your child that he can ask to go any time. Some kids have accidents at school, and he should be aware that this type of thing can happen, and does happen to a lot of kids. If you have given him strict instructions on other people touching him in the bathroom, make sure he is aware of how changes in caregiving my change that policy, for example if a teacher has to wipe him. Some kids will time their bowel movements to avoid school time. Discuss this with your doctor if it becomes and issue.
Buy clothes for your child with easy closures. No child at this point wants to have to ask their teacher to help them button their pants. Just at the moment you are trying to teach them autonomy, don’t burden them suddenly with shoelaces that need to be tied by an adult.
School is an ideal time to teach about making friends. You don’t have to be a car salesman to know the value of walking right up to someone, pointing to something you have in common (your love of sand or the color of your tennis shoes) and introducing yourself. This is not a skill that comes easily, but kids can learn these skills to, especially if you show them how it works, by introducing yourself to other moms and dads.
Lunchtime might also be stressful, if your child has never had to eat on her own. Many kids get stressed at lunchtime because they don’t have the leisure to drag it out like they do at home. Make sure your child has items that are easy to manipulate on her own rather than complicated foods that need to be reheated and might be hard to eat.
Your child may be scared of other small details that don’t worry you at all. He might think the school nurse means lots of shots. Or the school bus looks like a big scary tunnel he might get lost in and never find his way back home. Explore and discuss things like this with your child by asking him about his likes and dislikes about the school.
With a very small amount of putting yourself in their shoes, you can easily take steps to ease into the transition to school.

One thought on “Preparing Kids for the Challenges of the First Days of School

  • June 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm
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    That is great! We have been doing that. Our issue now is explaining that there are other kids that have gay parents BUT… we cannot find any in the area. We need some help? Could you help us? We are looking for a gay parent group.
    Chesapeake, Virginia.

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