Hello from beautiful Montana:

Where did the summer go? I’ll bet all of you are wondering the same thing. It is time for back to school and daycare if your children have been cared for by summer help. This feeling of newness will last for a few weeks, so be prepared for some resistance to a new schedule or transition to a new environment. Let’s see if we can find some tips to make transition easier on children, parents, teachers and  day care providers.
  1. Calm their first day jitters with encouraging words and open discussion. Children are naturally nervous about new situations.  The more calm you are when discussing upcoming experiences, the less nervous and upset he or she will be. Ask them what questions or concerns they may have and then answer honestly and find out anything you don’t know. Typical questions may be what time you will take them, where they will put their things, what they will have to eat, how and when they will get home etc.

  2. Visit the day care or school ahead of time. Even if you can’t attend a back to school night or event, be sure you visit with your child  at the facility to ease anxiety. The more a child is familiarwith the situation the less they will have to fear. Be very sure that while you teach them to be aware of their surroundings, that you also teach them to not be afraid.

  3. Let your child have some choice and voice in the decision making. No, I do not mean that he/she may choose whether to go to school or which school to attend. I mean that they be offered a choice of a red backpack or a blue one. Perhaps you could ask if they would prefer cereal bars  and a piece of fruit or a bowl of cereal in the morning.

  4. Help them to be a good friend.  Most children are fearful that others won’t like them or choose to play with them. Your job as a caring adult is to help them to be the kind of friend others will want to be with. As they learn to be kind, helpful, loyal and fun to be around, other children will be drawn to them naturally.  You may want to check out http://www.theleftoutchild.com for additional assistance in finding and keeping friends.

  5. Model enthusiasm and a love for learning. Help your child to know that you and the whole family will be excited to share what he/she has learned that day. Set aside a special time to regroup (ideally at the dinner table) and share what each one of you has learned that is new.  This will help all members of the family be grateful for new information and it will reinforce lessons and ideas. This is very important as we want our young children to be eager to look for new and creative ways to solve problems.
Transitions back to school,  starting pre-school or day care can be tough on everyone including parents.We need to recognize that many emotions  will be coming to the surface as we adjust to a new schedule and routine.  Be patient with yourself and your child and soon everyone will know what to expect.

As caring, loving adults we want to make the transition as easy as possible.  Our job is to help our kids to help themselves as they move towards personal responsibility and education. We don’t want to do everything for them, but we do want to make it as easy as we can for them to succeed.

You are doing the most important job in the world and I salute you.

5 Transition Tips for Back to School and Daycare