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Tips for a Successful Start in your Child’s Education Journey

A Successful Start

A child’s first day of Pre-K can bring a flood of emotions for parents and children. Joy and excitement over this milestone are often accompanied by some very normal moments of anxiety. This year concerns over COVID-19 present an added worry, and parents have to make very thoughtful decisions about what is best for their family and when, where and how their children will attend school. Once that decision has been made, it is important to celebrate this milestone with your child and spend some time talking about and preparing for the first day of school!

Some children handle changes in their routines better than others but all preschoolers will manage best with some preparation and specific support during the first couple of weeks of school. Some simple steps that will help you and your child manage this transition include:

  • Develop a nighttime routine with an early bedtime to ensure that your child is well rested. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 10-13 hours of sleep per 24 hours, (including naps) for children ages 3-6 years.
  • Establish a consistent morning routine to provide structure and practice it a few days before starting school.
  • Visit the school before the first day of school. If your child is attending Pre-K 4 SA, participation in Welcome Week provides your child with the opportunity to explore their new environment, and meet their teacher and some classmates. This experience also allows parents to become more familiar with their centers and start making supportive connections with teachers and other parents.
  • If your child talks about being scared, acknowledge their feelings and let them know that sometimes people feel a little scared when they start something new. Talk to your child about your first day of school and how you felt.
  • If your child asks questions about the pandemic and safety, let them know that their school listens to advice from doctors and medical professionals and works hard to keep everyone safe. Answer questions simply but truthfully.
  • Arrive at school on time. This is always important. During the first few days of school, arriving on time helps your child feel well oriented and a part of the group.
  • Read books about going to school such as It’s Time for Preschool by Esme Raj Codell, A Pocketful of Kisses by Audrey Penn and Will I have a Friend by Miriam Cohen.

Most of all, it’s important to remember that your child’s feelings and attitudes about coming to school will often mirror yours. Children pick up on their parent’s anxieties as well as their excitement. First days are special. Let’s work together to make them safe, joyful and memorable for children, parents and educators!

Written by: Maria Bayoumi, Pre-K 4 SA licensed specialist in school psychology

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