How to Say Good-Bye on the First Day
There's nothing like seeing your little one, practically tipping over in his towering backpack, striding into his "big-kid school." But how can you minimize the stress? Here are some ideas for making the good-bye as good as it gets:
- Prep your child about the day's routine. Talk about what preschool will be like, how your child will get to school/come home, and what he will do during the day. If your child is bringing lunch, pack his favorites. Let him choose a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring. He can leave it in his cubby or near his coat hook. Just knowing it's there should be a source of comfort for him.
- Stay, play, and say good-bye. Plan to hang around for about 15 to 20 minutes on the first day. Together, you and your child can explore the classroom and meet other children. Find an activity he enjoys to ease the transition. Once he's involved in the activity, it's time to go. Let the teacher know you're heading out. Sometimes separation is easier when another caring adult can provide support when you leave.
- When you say good-bye, stay positive. Your child is watching your reaction to figure out how he should feel. If you appear worried or upset, he may feel more fearful. Say a quick, upbeat good-bye, tell him that yes, you will both miss each other, but he will have a great day. And remind him you'll be back at lunchtime (or whenever it is that you'll return).
- Resist the rescue. Don't run back to the classroom if you hear your child crying. He may, quite understandably, feel sad and a little scared. But if you return to the classroom, you might prolong his distress. Have confidence that the teacher knows how to deal with these situations. If you're worried, call the school to see how he is doing.