55 Smart Ways to Get Set for School

5 Tips to Tear-Free Goodbyes

Don't linger.
The longer you stay, the harder it is. Let your child know that you'll be there to pick her up, and say "See you later!" once she's gotten involved in an activity.

Create your own ritual.
One of the moms in Shanon Powers's class, in Kansas City, Missouri, says goodbye to her son the same way every day: She kisses him on the lips and gives him a butterfly kiss (her eyelashes on his cheek), and then they rub noses and hug. When the embrace is over, he knows it's time for her to go to work.

Bring a friend from home.
Ask the teacher whether your child can bring along a stuffed animal to keep in her cubby in case she needs comforting. It shouldn't be her favorite one, though, because there's no guarantee it will come home in one piece.

Consider a reward system.
Linda Roos, of Scottsdale, Arizona, gave her kindergartner his own calendar. If he went to class without putting up a fuss, she put a smiley face on the calendar (otherwise, he got a sad face). On Friday, if he had five smiley faces, she made him a treasure hunt as a treat.

Learn the other kids' names.
When you can call your child's classmates by name ("Look, Matthew, there is a space at the train table with Eli and Katie"), it makes school seem much more familiar and safe.

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