When Your Kids Are Ready For School

Learning to let go

When is your child ready for school?

Sending your child off to school for the first time is a major milestone in both of your lives.  And it’s perfectly normal if she isn’t the only one who’s feeling a little anxious.  In fact, you may even more wistful if your child isn’t nervous at all.  Beginning full-time school is one of those big signs that your baby isn’t really a baby anymore – and you might meet this milestone with a variety of mixed emotions.

It’s okay if you’re feeling a little relieved that your child is off to school (especially if you’ve been home full-time with him).  It’s also okay if a part of you is wishing that she didn’t need to start school this year – that you’d have just one more year with your little girl.  No matter what you’re feeling (and your emotions may vary from day to day), what’s really important is the attitude that you’re projecting to your child.  Remember that while it can be hard to admit that our kids are growing up, trying to prevent it from happening will only keep them from experiencing life.

Starting school should be an exciting time for kids.  If your child is naturally shy or feeling nervous about going to school, it’s even more important that you emphasize the exciting aspects.  How can you do this when you’re really feeling apprehensive yourself?  I find that whenever I’m nervous about something, it helps to be as prepared as possible.  Throwing yourself into the preparation for the first day will help take your mind off the inevitable separation.  And involving your child will help to build his anticipation.

Meet the Teacher

Most schools have a Parent’s Information Night when you register your child for school.  Make sure to take the opportunity to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher so that you’ll feel comfortable knowing who will be with your child all day.

Shop for School Supplies

This is a good opportunity to get your child excited about starting school.  Let her pick out a backpack in her favorite color and school supplies starring her favorite cartoon characters.  It will make pencils and erasers that much more special.

Pack a Special Lunch

Have your child help you pack his lunch the night before the first day.  It’s another way to show him that you’re proud of what a big boy his is now.  Consider making the first lunch a little extra special – cut a sandwich into fun shapes or include his favorite homemade treat.

Include an Upbeat Note

Slip a note into your child’s lunch as a little surprise for her to find halfway through the day.  Make sure the note is a positive one – avoid an “I miss you” note.  Instead, write something along the lines of “I’m so proud of my big girl!” or simply “I love you.”  The note is sure to make her feel special and you’ll know that you’ve sent her off with a little piece of you too.

Walk or Drive Your Child to School

Even if your child will normally take a bus to school, it can be helpful for both of you if you take him personally on the first day.  Your child will understand that this is a special day and you’ll get a chance to see your child enter his classroom so you’ll know that he’ll be fine for the day.

The basic message is…

Even if sending your child to school for the first time feels a little like letting them go, put on a brave smile and save your tears until after you’ve dropped them off!

About The Author

Tara Lo
Tara Lo is an Early Childhood Educator who has worked with children aged 6 months to 12 years in a variety of settings. From day camps to daycare centers, homeless shelters to hotel resorts, and kindergarten classrooms to community centers. Tara is a former writer for Webkinz Jr., where she used her knowledge of child development and all things preschool to help create lovable characters, catchy songs, silly stories, and fun activities. Tara is now a work-at-home mom who splits her days between writing, running a home daycare, and being constantly amazed by her wonderful son.

3 Responses to When Your Kids Are Ready For School

  1. LalaMoosh says:

    I wish that I had gone with instinct vs. the norm of sending our kids off to school due to age. My oldest daughter was not ready for school, our only option was to send her to full day Kindergarten & while she enjoyed pre-school for 3 hours a day 3 days a week, full school days were too much for her. After nightmare inducing problems in 2nd grade & the fact that her younger sister was often too ill to attend Kindergarten, I pulled both out & chose home-schooling & sweet child #1 could not express her relief enough! Most public school districts are making it easier to home-school & make it pleasantly easy via lesson plans & curricula online. Most parents don’t realize that your child does NOT, by law, need to attend Kindergarten & as long as they are not horribly behind on what is taught in Kindergarten, can easily assimilate into a 1st grade class. School is a major step & while we try to placate & bribe them, some little ones are simply not ready to join a classroom & if they are especially shy or sensitive, sometimes it is best to go with you gut or to listen to their worries & concerns & keep them home, or let them attend a Kindergarten through pre-school/nursery schools to give them an extra year to mature, or if your time & finances allow; to home school them instead. As many public schools are dealing with being underfunded & overwhelmed with large student bodies, you may come to find that other options are a better fit for your child family. Home schooling is not the lonely, ho-hum situation many think it is. There are many resources to utilize & lean on to enhance your child(ren)’s education. I meet up with others for “gym” classes, field trips, music classes & to network with others who are better at certain educational aspects (such as maths as that is my weaker interest & foreign languages, but I’ve got a great knack for teaching English, reading, writing & science.) Parents need to understand & utilize all the tools available to them for their children to get the best education, even if it means bypassing the traditional routes & need to rise above peer pressures to just send their kids to schools where they will fade into the background & not get much to feed their hungry minds.

  2. irene says:

    Thanks! Will remember to put on a brave smile and save my tears until after I’ve dropped them off!

  3. snowy80829 says:

    I homeschool mine too! I never did like school when I was little!