How Parents Can Have a Tear Free First Day of School

Whether it’s pre-kindergarten or elementary, the first day of school can be tough for a child who’s never been. As a parent, you may have researched your child’s new school and feel pretty confident in the environment. But with any new experience, the change may be a bit scary for a small child to handle. On the first day of school, they need your support in a way that teachers might not be able to provide. With the following easy tips, you and your little one are on the right track to a no-tears first day of school.

Strategies for a Tear Free First Day

  • If possible, visit the school before the actual first day. Schedule a visit and make a point to meet the teachers and other adults your child may interact with throughout the school year. Giving your child the opportunity to become familiar with their new learning environment before the big day prepares them in knowing what to expect with such a big change.
  • Read a few age appropriate stories about new settings and starting school. In hearing about other characters going through similar experiences, children can relate their big day with some of the fun tales they’ve been reading. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, for instance, tells the story of an anxious little raccoon who is starting school and is separated from his mother for the first time. They create a special way of bonding with each other, no matter where they are in the world.
  • Create a friendly drawing or journal book of things your child wants to learn about at school. Use lots of different fun materials (crayons, markers, paint) to create a vision of learning in picture form. Visually generating positive thoughts about a new school experience is a great way to cement a positive attitude about the first day!
  • Do some school supply shopping together. If there is a list of items needed for the school year, this is a very good time to prepare for the big day with your child. The process of gathering needed items for school can open a discussion about what they can expect from school and establish a sense of familiarity before they even enter the building.
  • Bring a gift for the teacher. This can be homemade or purchased (either way is special) but offering a gift to your child’s new teacher can establish a caring relationship that is needed in the new environment. While the present may be for the teacher, your child is beginning to understand that this new person who will be guiding them in class is important and very special. A positive perception of the teacher will contribute to a positive perception of the entire experience!
  • While your child may be going through some new feelings, you may be feeling a little sad about your child leaving. And that’s okay! Starting a new school year is a big deal! And while it may not be easy, it is so worth it! You BOTH can do this!

Can you think of any additional ways that parents can have a tear free first day of school?

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