Do you have little ones who are starting school, preschool or childcare? Here’s some handy advice to help everyone survive.
Starting school, preschool or childcare is a momentous occasion for both kids and parents. It’s quite possibly the first situation where they’ll have an extended period of time away from you; making sure they’re ready is super important.
They’ll be full of fear, nerves and uncertainty. It’s the kind of anxiety you might recall from being a child—or even from more recently in your life.
Remember when you first moved into a share house, unable to decide if your unicorn slippers would be considered uncool? Or when you started that new job and worried if everyone would figure out half of the ‘proficient skills’ on your CV were slightly embellished?
Magnify those feelings by a hundred and you may start to comprehend what it feels like for your children to be leaving you. But here’s how to get your kids, and yourself, through the adventure of that first day!
Frankie (as well as mummy and daddy) say relax
Every child who is about to start school, preschool or childcare is going to have at least a few nerves. It’s non-negotiable.
Some may be visibly shaking, crying or both—with their apprehension seemingly too much to bear. Contrast this with some of the more self-assured kids, who won’t be exhibiting too many nerves at all.
But whatever the visible signs are, they’ll all feel a little displaced. The fear of the unknown is a prominent human trait; young children simply aren’t emotionally developed enough to not let it affect them in some way.
You’re likely to experience some resistance, tears and even hostility as they realise they’re being sent away from the comfort zone they’ve known their whole lives.
The key to helping them overcome any worry is relaxation. Pinpoint what generally calms them and employ it as much as possible before their new, independent endeavour. This distraction can then be used leading up to and on the day of their new beginning.
The form of relaxation is obviously going to be different for every child. Perhaps it’s playing a game, building some Lego, reading a book, watching a show, or helping to walk the dog. But whatever it is, share the experience as often as you can in the lead up to the event.
This will distract them from their thoughts and ease their nerves before day one of the brave new world.
Once you have your little one relaxed about starting school, preschool or childcare (or relaxed enough anyway), then it’s time to try and get them excited about the idea too.
Talking up the great things they’ll get to do is a good place to start. You can try mentioning factors like the new friends they’ll make or the new routine they’ll have—but if that doesn’t work then it might be best to highlight familiarity.
Articulate activities they already love that they’ll still be doing like reading and colouring—but just put a cool new spin on them. Tell them about the amazing new type of pencils the school will have, the exciting new books they’ll read, or the wonderous playground equipment they’ll get to play on.
And you can enhance their excitement by equipping them with some trendy personalised items! Check out our range of Stationery or even our Orientation Pack, which is specifically crafted for little ones starting school, preschool or childcare.
By associating items that are uniquely theirs—complete with their name and favourite icon— with their new landscape, they’ll feel more assured about it and confident to find their belongings at various points throughout the day.
With any luck, you’ll get your kids SO enthusiastic about the new adventure they won’t be able to wait! Then all you need to worry about is yourself…
Be kind, refined
Last but definitely not least, you need to look after yourself.
Letting your offspring take their first steps into the world will be somewhat traumatic whether you are looking forward to this change or not.
However, until they’re out of sight you’ll need to keep it together. If they see you upset it is going to make things worse for everyone.
Be strong, maintain a composed façade, and then once they’re gone, try and have someone on hand who is comfortable seeing you at your blubbering worst and can remind you that it WILL get easier. Make sure this person will also join you in a glass of champagne to celebrate the milestone!
Before too long, you may even be thankful you have somewhere to drop the kids off on a regular basis. In the long run, make sure you embrace it because these periods of the day will henceforth be known as ‘time to yourself’—or, who knows, maybe even as ‘party time’.
Do you have any other advice for parents with children starting school, preschool or childcare? Let us know in the comment section below!