Can you believe that your baby is of school-going age? They were born just yesterday, but now your toddler has officially turned into a pre-schooler and is venturing out into the world to engage with other people their age.
It is a huge change for all parties involved. Kids probably do not understand why they are left with a group of strangers for a few hours a day. Parents are also not used to entrusting someone else with the safety of their child.
Here are some tips to help you and your little one cope:
Introduce yourself and your child to the teacher
For the teacher to feel less like a stranger, try and chat with them either before school starts or on the day. Understanding, briefly, who are they are and what their style of teaching is will make you feel more at ease. You will feel more at ease knowing that you, at least, know who is taking care of your child.
The same goes for your child. If they feel like they know the teacher, they will feel safe.
Familiarise yourself with the daily schedule
You will be more at ease if you know what your baby is doing and when. The most common question you are bound to ask yourself throughout the day is “I wonder what they are doing?”. The less you wonder, the better the adjustment will be.
Don’t be controlling
It is natural to have questions about your child’s schedule and comfort, but you don’t want to come across as too controlling. Your concern about sleeping arrangements, food choice (not allergies), and your child’s preferences will leave you feeling anxious. Trust that you chose the right school that can serve your child’s needs as best as possible.
Know your goodbye ritual
The longer your goodbye, or the less structured it is, the harder it will be to leave. This means that both you and the child will have a hard time, and your morning and day will be full of tears.
Spend time with them on the first day. Don’t just run away. That gives them the terrible impression that they too should not be there. I mean, mommy ran away.
For days to follow, a ritualistic goodbye kiss and squeeze, followed by your prompt departure works wonders. It might feel cold, but the more you delay leaving, the harder it is for the teachers to comfort your baby.
Remember to communicate your departure, and don’t just vanish. Tell your baby that you have to leave, but will be back to pick them up. Disappearing acts do more harm than good.
Children should not feel abandoned, which could inevitably happen when parents vanish.
Children can pick up on energies very quickly. If you are feeling and looking sad, they will also feel the same way. Their attitude about the day depends on you. Even if their emotions are high, be strong on their behalf.
Your little one might cry for a few days after the first day. This is normal. They have to adjust to a new environment and new people. In no time, they will be leaving you behind as they excitedly meet up with a friend.
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen. She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.