If your eldest child is just a few years old, it’s hard to imagine a life where they’re not continually by your side. You’ve carried them in the womb, delivered them, held them, fed them, nurtured them, and been with them for every step of their life so far.
But then, suddenly, one day you realize that the first day of preschool or kindergarten has snuck up from out of nowhere, looming on the horizon like a thunderstorm.
But transitioning from being the primary care provider of your child doesn’t have to be a miserable time of life. Will it be challenging? Yes. Will it be emotional? Sure. That’s to be expected. But it doesn’t have to be bad.
Here are a few things to keep in mind throughout that initial transition to a school schedule in order to help keep your spirits up and your emotions positive.
1. Remember That You’re Still On Their Team
Your child isn’t ditching “team home” for “team school.” On the contrary, as they become steeped in their educational lives, they’ll likely need you to advocate for them more than ever. From talking to teachers to making sure they have a nutritious lunch packed every day, remember that you and your child are still a team, even if you’re apart for a good portion of each day. Be their cheerleader. Be their confidence booster. In short, plan to be there for your teammate.
2. Stay Connected
No, this isn’t an excuse to call your child – or have them call you – at all hours of the school day. However, taking steps to maintain lines of communication can certainly help to sooth both yours and your child’s anxiety. One of the most important ways to do this is to make sure to forward all calls during the school day to your cellphone. This ensures that any attempted communication, regardless of where you are, will reach you.
3. Take Pictures
Along with a good cellphone lifeline, it can also soothe those early morning emotions to take pictures with your child in order to cherish those memories. Give them a printed copy to keep in their backpack, and then regularly set your favorites as your phone’s backgrounds. This can help turn an emotionally stressful event into one worth cherishing and remembering.
4. Remind Yourself That You’re Not Being Replaced
Yes, their educators will be instrumental in teaching them their ABCs and 123s, but that doesn’t change the fact that your child will learn most of their rudimentary basics right in your home. We’re talking about things like using a fork and spoon, saying please and thank you, and even advanced abilities like learning to cook. When it comes to life skills, they’ll mostly continue to come right from you for years to come.
5. Make the Most of Your Time Together
Of course, school doesn’t last all day, either. If you’re feeling some tension at the thought of being apart, make sure to get the most out of your mornings and evenings when you are together. Make a point out of making the most of your breakfasts, and that dinner time is spent as a family seated together at the table without phones or other digital distractions. In short, make your time together count.
Maintain That Positivity
As you sort through your school options and prepare to register your child, keep your chin up. You’re still their hero. You’re still their teammate. You’re still their number one teacher. Be proud of their opportunity to start to grow and develop. And always remember, school isn’t there to replace you, it’s there to compliment your work as a parent.
Magnolia Potter is a muggle from the Pacific Northwest who writes from time to time and covers a variety of topics. When Magnolia’s not writing, you can find her curled up with a good book.