How often have you thought, “I can’t wait for the kids to start school!”? Maybe you’re looking forward to some extra time during the day for yourself, your younger children, your job, or even housework. Maybe you’re pumped to not shell out thousands each month to childcare. If any of this is you, don’t feel guilty: You’re allowed to want some time away from your kids. You’re also allowed to change your mind the minute your 6-year-old walks out the door wearing a backpack twice his size and takes off in a bus without you.
Sending kids to school for the first time is scary. It can cause all kinds of anxiety for both parents and kids. We talked to more than 50 parents to get a better understanding of what was most worrisome about the transition into first grade or full day Kindergarten and here’s what they told us.
- Talk it up big time. Kids are usually excited about starting school so ride that wave and let them know what a big step it is. This will increase their excitement and confidence and reduce anxiety.
- Once school starts, sit down with them each day and let them show and tell you about what they accomplished. They will start looking forward to impressing you with their school work.
- Always be positive. Kids model every behavior they see and if you appear sad and anxious, so will they.
School Bus Safety.
Keeping kids safe is a parent’s top priority and sending them to and from school on a bus without you is scary. According to safercar.gov, 23 million students take the school bus every year. The biggest risk is not actually riding the bus, but rather getting on and off. Earlier this year a mother experienced a terrible ordeal when her 6-year-old son didn’t arrive home after school. Two excruciating hours later he was found safe after having gotten off at the wrong stop. If you’re wondering how this happens, think of how forgetful and absent minded kids can be in their own home. All of a sudden they’re expected to remember the correct bus number and intersection; that’s a tall order for a 6-year-old. Of course we expect that school and bus officials will help prevent these types of accidents, but there are some things we can do to prep our kids for bus safety:
- Take them on a dry run of the bus route so they become familiar with it and can anticipate their stop without guidance from the driver.
- Write the bus number on their hand so they can easily remember.
- Help them memorize your address and phone number in case they need to get a hold of you. Also a good idea to have this written somewhere on their backpack.
Temper tantrums can happen anywhere.
Truer words have never been said and the classroom is no exception. Your child may very well have a meltdown at school. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Better at school than at home with me!” you’re not alone. You can still take comfort knowing that Kindergarten and first grade teachers are well prepared to handle it. There will likely be consequences if that behavior continues and you should definitely embrace it! Your child will learn that you’re not the only one making the rules and setting expectations for them. If you’re still feeling the pressure, try a few of these suggestions:
- Use stuffed animals to role play different emotions and how to handle them. For example, “Benny the gorilla is angry, what should he do about it? How should he act?” You’ll probably find the responses adorable but productive at the same time.
- There are many resources to help you talk with your kids about emotions and behavior. They’re goofy, fun, and effective. Watch the movie, Inside Out with them or choose a behavior book at bedtime like, Betty Goes Bananas,
- Set expectations up front. Talk to your child about how rules may be different at school but that you expect them to obey and show respect just as they do at home.
Do you have any tips or strategies you use when your kids go back to school? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear them.