Back to School - Helping kids feel comfortable.

Back to school is a huge deal for us because our kiddos haven't really had the true school environment and since the BIG C word, nothing has quite been the same. We tried out some camps this summer to test out how they would do and definitely learned a lot about transitioning them into an environment without mama and making them feel comfortable.



Lo has always been pretty confident in social settings, she truly enjoys meeting new people. While Lenny, seems super outgoing because she has a HUGE personality, she is actually quite shy in social settings and it takes a lot of time for her to warm up.



While they both loved summer camps, the transition of comfort was definitely difficult and that's something I hear A LOT of mamas talk about so I figured I would share my perspective on what has worked for us. Like anything there is never a one size fits all solution so keep your own cuties personality and needs in mind when considering incorporating anything into helping them!



"I DON'T WANNA GO"

I have heard this one on several occasions and it's not because they don't enjoy going, it's simply because they know I go away. The constant in their lives isn't present in this new scenario and kids minds just aren't equipped to understand that.....


The best way I resolved this was by introducing examples into their lives of how I am still present and still a constant even when I am not with them. My favorite way to do this is through books because they love books and they offer great examples that they can relate to and comprehend, then we have a conversation to make sure it relates to them. The best one, in my opinion, is The Invisible String, which teaches your kiddo all about how even though you can't see me I am always with you.


Some kids may not have a physical or verbal issue when presented into a new environment without their parent but I truly think sharing the same relatable examples to them is important to help them feel safe and confident in their new role.


THE CAR RIDE

Talking about school in a positive light is absolutely necessary. On the way to school I always try to think of a few things that may excite them about their day, providing them with something to look forward to and also offering them a bit of a schedule is helpful for them to understand that my absence is temporary and they have tons of cool stuff to do while I am gone.


Saying things like, " Today is Gym Class, do you think you'll climb the rock wall again?" or "I know you loved playing with Sam and Charlie, what games do you think you may play at recess today?" These are both examples of opening the conversation up, exciting them for the day, but also allowing them to lead the conversation/details in case things don't go according to what "mom said".


THE GOODBYE

WOW, did we have a difficult time with the actual goodbye. You would think if you hype them up and prep them for everything they'd feel ready to go but that's not always the case. Lenny ran out of her class multiple times during summer camp solely because she didn't want me to leave and needed another hug. BUT we resolved it by creating the goodbye together vs. a quick drop and disappear.


We are fortunate to be able to take her into her classroom and drop her off, while I know some schools don't allow this currently. It's good to remember you can create any type of goodbye you want in any scenario you are presented with, what's most important is that your kiddo creates it with you.

Lenny's drop off consists of me walking her into class, letting her walk me to her cubby and show me where her things go, then she walks me to an activity zone she wants to begin her day at, then she gives me 3 tight squeezes and YES we count each one out loud, and then we say I love you-see you after a fun day at school... This seems like a lot but it honestly takes 3 minutes and it's exactly what she feels comfortable with and helps her feel confident to let mama go.

Harlow's drop off is a little different because her school doesn't allow parent's indoors for the drop off. There is a Kindergarten zone near a gated playground where the kiddos get to line up with their class and wait for the bell to ring so the teacher can walk them indoors. Her goodbye is less steps but still very helpful for her to feel confident when I leave. I simply walk her to the gate, give her one big squeeze, and say I can't wait to hear about all the fun you have today. Then I walk to the fence and we give each other one big smile and wave before she goes inside.


Overall each of these things is a small step and conversation to help your kiddo figure out that not only do you come back but they're going to have a fantastic and safe day without you. There's tons of ways to make sure you are providing this for your littles that help set you both up for a successful day. I hope this helps you and if you have other tips to offer, please drop them in the comments section below!

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