In the first part of this blog I focused on the importance of how the parents themselves deal with their own worries around the first day of school. This is because the way parents deal with their worries could have an impact on the experience of this milestone both for the parents themselves and for the child. In this part of the blog I will focus more on some ideas of what to say to your child on their first day at school.
- Speak to your child about excitement
It might be reassuring to your child if they heard about how excited you are for them now that they will start learning new things and having fun at school. Another valuable point is to let your child know that you are also excited to hear all about their day at school when the school time is over.
- Talk about what will happen when the school day is over
Have a chat with your child about what will happen after their day at school. Explain to your child who will be picking them up from school once school time ends, and maybe talk about the rest of the day after school. For instance, tell your child what you are planning to prepare for dinner, or for instance if you are planning on going out for a short walk, or to the grocer together. This will reassure the child that when school time is over, they will have some special time with persons who are familiar to them.
- Showing your trust in your child’s teacher
Although you, as the parent, will not be present with the child during their day at school, their teacher will be there to support them through it. If it is a possibility, introduce your child to their teacher and explain that this is someone that is there to take care of them while they are at school. This is especially helpful if you and your child engaged in pretend play as preparation for the first day of school. You can remind your child of some moments where the role of the teacher was involved in your play or in your preparatory discussions.
- Start developing a goodbye routine
It might be useful to dedicate some time on the first day of school to start developing a routine for yourself and your child when it comes to saying goodbye. This will continue supporting you with saying goodbye on the school days that follow. In your routine you can integrate anything varying from a goodbye cuddle, a kiss on the hand for the child to carry with them during the day, or maybe a brief song to sing to one another when saying goodbye.
Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.