Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
~ Chinese Proverb ~
Backpack. Snack bag. Cute outfit. New shoes. You’re starting to feel confident about that first day of nursery school. Until the tears start to well up. Maybe his. Probably yours. It’s tough to send your baby off into the care of others for at least part of the day. It’s a big step, the first of many in his or her educational journey.
Kidsplace staff realize those first few days can be tough, so here are some tips for making the transition into nursery school a little bit smoother.
1) Be positive. Make positive comments throughout the weeks and days before nursery school begins. For example: if your child likes art, comment that at nursery school, there will be time to paint, draw, cut, glue, color, etc., each day. If your child likes puzzles and table games, comment that there are many of these to choose from. There are also other fun toys such as a pretend kitchen, dress-up clothes and lego, trucks and blocks at nursery school.
Tell your child that there will be other children their age and they will have fun making new friends. Remind him that the teachers at school love children and like to do fun things with them.
2) Talk it up. While your child is with you, tell Grandma and Grandpa, Aunties and Uncles, and friends about nursery school. Drive by and show brother or sister where nursery school is. Make a BIG deal of Nursery School.
3) Take a tour. Come to the open house on August 27, 10 a.m. to noon and have a tour! Spend time playing with the toys and meeting the teachers.
4) Short and sweet. Class-times during our first week of school are just one hour long, to help the children get used to routines and new experiences.
5) Be prepared. Have your child help get his or her school clothes, lunch bag and shoes ready the night before.
6) Sleep tight. Try for an earlier bedtime a few days before school starts. Adequate sleep will go a long way in preparing your child for the busy days ahead. Get up a bit earlier in the morning so you don’t need to rush.
7) Bring a friend. Ask your child if he or she would like to bring a favorite little stuffed animal to school to keep them company on the first day(s) of school.
8) Stay connected. On the days before school begins, and on the first day, tell your child what you and the rest of the family will be doing while he or she is in school. For example: “I have a big meeting to go to and your sister is learning about butterflies at school today. Tell me, where you will play first?”
If you plan to stay on the first day, tell your child. You may want to stay for just a short time; let your child know you will stay until the big hand on your watch reaches 12, or whatever your child can relate to.
9) Say goodbye. Take time to say goodbye to your child, but try to keep it short and sweet. Though it may be tempting to leave when your child is involved, this doesn’t build trust in the long run. Over time, “goodbyes” strengthen children’s beliefs that you will come back.
Ask your child, “How should we say goodbye? Could I give you two hugs and a kiss?” etc. This way, your child has a choice and can help build goodbye rituals. Also, tell your child what you will do together after you pick him/her up from nursery school.
By spending just a little bit of extra time preparing your child – and yourself! – the first days of nursery school will be full of fun and a great start toward life-long learning!