For several years I worked with children in Head Start and observed many breaking away situations, and I'd like to pass along a few tips to Moms to help their new student through this transition.
1. Be a Real Encourager
Don't let them see you cry. Then go home and bawl your eyes out! If your school allows, and they must ride a bus, let them ride and meet the bus at the school. Whether you are happy or not with their new teacher, don't let the child know. Do everything in your power to make this an exciting experience. Excitement is contagious!
2. For the Child's Sake and the Teacher's . . .
Don't linger any longer than you must. This only adds to the misery. One crying child can set off half a classroom of bawling children.
3. Assure Them That This Will Be Fun
They'll meet LOTS of new friends and YOU WILL be there when they come home, and you want to hear ALL ABOUT this first day!
4. AS PROMISED -- Put Everything Else Aside and LISTEN.
Children talk if we listen. They'll let you know their likes and dislikes and by being observant you can sense their worries and frustrations and make your plans for helping them work for them.
5. Determine To Be An Active Participant In Their Activities.
Trust me -- there will come a day when they don't WANT mom to be there, but for now, YOU'RE A TEAM. And your goal is to make this strange new phase of life FUN and exciting!
To wrap up my childhood crying story, do we ever quit crying? I cried with all three of mine, but I never let 'em see me. And as I get older I realize that moms really do feel like they're being punished when they turn over their BABY to a school system. That is until the newness wears off and they get a taste of "Quiet Time."
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I loved reading your article. I'm going to print it out and save it for next year when my oldest son starts school. I felt the heartache just leaving my last (fifth) baby in daycare for the first time so I know I will be a mess when it's time for him to start school. Thanks for sharing.
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