The first day of school can be met with a lot of anxiety and excitement. It represents a huge milestone in their development, but it also means leaving the known and secure for something unknown.
Don’t wait for the first day to prepare. If given the opportunity, tour the school, explore the classroom, and discuss often the first day of school. Kids do better when they know what to expect.
Crying is Normal
Kids will often cry on the first day of school, especially if they don’t have a lot of experience being separated from their parents. Don’t worry, teachers have a lot of experience with this, and they know how to handle a crying child. Oftentimes, it will only happen for 10-15 minutes. Then they will ease in and join the rest of the class.
Make Your Own Plans
Have something planned for yourself – it’ll make it easier for you knowing you have something to look forward to or an appointment that you have to keep. Doing so will keep you preoccupied and also keep you from worrying about what’s going on with your child at school.
Plan Your Exit
Keep it short and sweet. The longer you linger with a crying child, the harder it will be for the both of you to separate.
Reviewed by Eva Benmeleh, March 2020
As a teacher and mom… I totally agree too about short and sweet… long and drawn out makes it hard for everyone and makes it hard on the teacher to get started. A lot of the times I find that parents (including myself) have a hard time letting go… but once we leave, kids do great!
Being a teacher, I completely agree with your statement about keeping your exit short and sweet. The longer the parent waits simply makes the situation more difficult. The child usually stops crying very soon after they leave, so there is no need to prolong the situation. In many cases, it’s actually harder on the parent than it really is on the child.
My oldest started preschool part time when she was two and it took a while for her to adjust. She cried for almost three weeks but I always kept my exits short. My youngest started preschool when she was two as well but did a much better job adjusting and really never cried. They just started camp this week after being out for three weeks and both girls were a little emotional but I kept it short again and they were happy before I even left the building.