Nervous about dropping your kids off at school for the first
time? Worried if they'll be able to handle the strange environment
without mom and dad alongside?
Separation anxiety is a common issue for kids leaving home (even
just for a few hours) for the first time. Shelly Gray, educational
director of the Goddard School in Cary, which works with kids from
age 8 weeks to 6 years, shared some tips for making sure the
transition goes smoothly:
Start them young. If possible, introduce occasional separation
as young as infancy and maintain it through your kids'
toddler-hood. "If you have someone starting at age 2, it's much
harder," says Gray. "They don't understand, 'why is my mommy or
Keep track at home. Talk about school while at home. Be sure
your child understands when they begin school and what days are
school days. Gray suggests a big, cute, colorful calendar marked
with school days, incorporating the teaching of dates along with
preparing for separation.
Visit ahead of time. If at all possible, bring your child to the
school before you have to leave him or her there. Explore the
environment together so it becomes familiar. "Focus on what your
kid likes, if they're excited about the gym or the cafeteria or the
playground," Gray suggests. You may even be able to meet the
teachers or principal.
Say goodbye once. When the time comes to part ways for a while,
quick and clean is the way to go. "The longer the parent stays with
the child, the harder the separation is," Gray says. A particularly
good strategy is to get them distracted by their favorite thing in
the new setting-they might barely notice you leaving.
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