It sounds all too grown-up, “My baby is going to school.” I know, it’s a big step. It’s a huge step. And it can be a little scary. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple things you can do to ease your worries and help you feel a little more on top of things as you prepare for the big day.
Ease your fears by taking control of the things you can control. Did you read that right? Worry about what you can control, not what you can’t.
Sure, make some calls to the school if you have to, but chances are, the school knows what they are doing. Make a list of all the things your child has learned to do in the past—independently. They are pretty amazing and resilient creatures and going to school is just another event. If you make a big deal out of it, they will fear that school is scarier than it really is. So, have fun with the idea that your little one is going off to school and let that fun shine. Do you adore the fall clothes and shoes or is it the smell of fresh vinyl school supplies that makes you weak in the knees? Make a date to take your child shopping for the essentials. They’ll pick up on your excitement and feel good about the process.
On the other hand, it’s perfectly normal to feel sad that your “baby” is growing up. Saying good-bye will get easier every time. Think now of a fun way to say good-bye at drop-off (high-fives, a wink, something that signals to you and your child that it’s cool to go and learn). It’s also perfectly o.k. to be excited or relieved.
Of course you’ve spent days or weeks preparing for the first day of school for your child. But have you thought about what and how you are going to spend your “first day” at home without your child? What would make you feel good after the bus comes or your minivan pulls away from the front doors of the big new building? Perhaps a group of parents could meet up at the local coffee shop, hit the outlet mall, attend a book club or a Bible study. Whatever it is, be sure it’s something you enjoy with supportive individuals.
One more tip, moms: slow down. The days leading up to the first day of school can get hectic. There are last-minute forms to fill out, meetings to attend, school supplies to gather, and fall schedules to arrange. Kids feel this pressure too. They are fueled by your anxiety level, which may mean they rev up their own activity, resulting bad behaviors. Slow down.
Talk less, stretch out and play, sip lemonade and hit the pool one last time.