8 Ways You Can Help Your Little One Get Started In School
It’s almost back to school season! Let’s forego discussing that the summer passed by in ten seconds, shall we?
This year my youngest, Sawyer, is heading off to JK. In a lot of ways, I’m actually excited. I have been a full time stay-at home mom for over 7 years (juggling The Wild with that for 4 of those years), and I’m totally looking forward to being able to spend more time focused on this business and my career.
But, part of me is of course a little devastated. How did this happen? I literally just gave birth to Sawyer, didn’t I? I guess it’s time to start packing up his room for college :(
One thing that I’m happy about is that I’ve been here before. A few years back when Benjamin started school, I’m not going to lie, it threw me for a loop. I pictured maybe a single day of him being bummed about his routine being changed and then he’d have ten new best friends and everything would be fine. Ya, nope. It was, in our case, kind of awful. It felt like the hard days were never ending, he was trying to be brave but it was such a massive change for him, and such a learning curve for me. I wasn’t prepared at all. I had NO idea.
Today I want to share with you guys a bit about what I learned in the hopes of preparing you for this if you’re in this season of life. Now, all kids are different, some are way more independent than others, so these ideas may not all apply to your little ones. But for those of you who feel a bit nervous or who have sensitive kids, I’m really speaking to you here. Below are some tips to help you BOTH through the transition:
- Don’t make a lot of plans for the first two weeks. Yes, two full weeks are going to be weird. When your little one isn’t in school, they will want to be home, with you, where everything is cozy and familiar and they feel at ease. Keep your weekends low key. Keep your weeknights as quiet and calm as possible. Lots of home time. It won’t always be like this, but give it a few weeks at the start. There is SO MUCH NEW all day every day, this will be such a nice break for them as their tiny little brains process all of the changes they are experiencing.
- Be generous with the cuddles. Your kids will be so much happier with a little bit of extra love during this time.
- Be patient. Like, super patient. This is not my strong suit, admittedly. But this is where you need it most. In the mornings, if/when they are saying they don’t want to go, try not to get frustrated. Stay super positive and encouraging about the school experience.
- Let them feel the feelings. This one is crucial. I read an article recently about how as parents we tend to gaslight our kids, like when they fall and we immediately say “You’re ok!’ when they are actually scrapped up and hurt. In this case especially, it’s a scary thing. EVen as adults, starting a new job or school program is nerve wracking and scary, and we KNOW what to expect. They don’t. And they are tiny humans. Let them express how they are feeling, and be supportive of that. You can be positive about it while still acknowledging how they feel.
- Focus on the exciting bits. Encourage them to tell you about their day. Ask them what the best part was...even if that is when you picked them up. Try to get them excited about little parts, and focus more and more on the fun parts of their school routine every day.
- Read The Kissing Hand. This book is still a family fav around our house. The kids regularly give Billy and I ‘kissing hands’ and it’s truly such a sweet and encouraging book. A friend recommended I get this back before Ben started school and I’m so glad we did.
- Start school days early. Get a routine going. The more time you and your kids have, the more calm of a morning you can have. Calm kids = happy kids. Rushed kids = stressed kids.
- Make them a special bracelet. This was the biggest life saver for us when Ben started school. I made him a little bracelet out of string, nothing fancy, and I told him that every time he felt sad about home when he was in school to look down at his bracelet and hold it with his other hand, and it’s like a piece of home is with him. He still has his little bracelet and it seriously made a difference.
Next week we will be writing all about getting back into the swing of the school year with your older kids, so check back for that!!! And good luck with your little ones who are just getting started, we’re right there with you!!!!