Posted by Peggy Kaufman, Director of the Center for Early Relationship Support
Transitioning to school in the fall, especially for young children, is an experience which is likely to be both exciting and stressful for the whole family. You might worry, "Is he ready? How will we all adjust? Will she make friends?"
Here are some suggestions for dealing with these transitions:
- Your children are influenced by the things you say and do, and the feelings you express. If you convey a positive attitude, regardless of emotions you may be experiencing, then they will feel more confident.
- Keep the lines of communication open. By talking with and listening to your children, you can lay to rest many of the fears and misconceptions they might have about this transition. Address your children's questions and reassure them if they have concerns.
- There are many good books to read together about starting school. Visit the library and check some out!
- Recognize that behaviors such as clinginess, acting out, or nervous habits may be your child expressing their feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, or sadness.
- Seek out your own supportive relationships, including connecting with parents of your children's schoolmates.
- Create ritual(s) for marking this transition, such as taking photos in the same spot each year or making a special breakfast on the first day of school.
- Transitions take time, sometimes longer than we imagine. Getting accustomed to new schedules, new teachers, and new environments may take many weeks or longer.
Peggy H. Kaufman, MEd, LICSW is the Founding Director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support. With a background in perinatal emotional health and the growth and development of parents, her interests include the earliest relationships. Ms. Kaufman is the recipient of multiple awards for her groundbreaking programs and her commitment to increase awareness of postpartum depression and maternal and infant mental health.