As the start of school looms closer, local moms are sharing a common experience. As Jenny Harding explained, sending little ones off to Pre-K or Kindergarten for the first time can be scary. “With my youngest starting preschool on the very same day that my oldest starts Kindergarten, I'm tempted to coordinate a 'tea and tears' with my girlfriends that morning. The idea of sending my 5 year old on a bus driven by a stranger to be cared for all day by strangers is violating all of rules we have lived by. As I watch that bus pull away on August 30th, I will feel like my leap of faith is riskier than his.”
Shannon Carranante is preparing to send her daughter to Pre-K and shared similar feelings. “Although we're thrilled that our daughter is attending Pre-K, the last couple of months have been bitter sweet. I'm so excited, for all of the new experiences she will have, but also have a small ache, in the bottom of my heart when I think that her time with me at home is about to end.”
While sending off your second child may seem easier, Lynnea Alcaraz has found the experience to bring mixed emotions. “I'm very excited for my daughter, but a little sad at the same time. Although she is very excited to start Kindergarten and to have her big brother show her the ropes, I am going to miss spending my days with her,” said Alcaraz, “I think it's easier the second time around. I already know what to expect and since she is happy to be going, it's easier on me.”
Sensing sadness from Mom, feeling unsure about what to expect at school, and settling into a new routine can cause kids to experience separation anxiety. Sarah Devlin-Tremble serves as Director of Magothy Cooperative Preschool, and shared with Patch about how to help Pre-K and Kindergarten students overcome nervous feelings about school.
“Start discussing with your child what to expect from school, including the routine of the day and new adventures he/she is about to embark on,” shared Devlin-Tremble, “Also, try to connect with other families in your child's class so there are familiar faces at school.”
“As the first day approaches, prepare a security item for your child to take along,” Devlin-Tremble offered, “When the big day arrives, settle your child in, reassure them you will be back at pick up time and say your good-byes. It is best to leave promptly and not linger; that will only draw out the transition. When your child cries that they want to stay with you, acknowledge their unhappiness with 'I know you do.' It is best not to use a lot of words and explanations during this transition.”
Devlin-Tremble also stressed the importance of speaking honestly with your child. “You must use true words with your child. No tricking or deception. No sneaking off - You must say goodbye.”