It has been an amazing start to the school year. Our learners have transitioned into classrooms where, in most cases, the teacher does not speak their language, nap time is not in their own beds, and even lunches could be something that “my mom does not cook,” as one preschooler happily announced! But just as we have the routines established, the fall break creeps up on the calendar. We know that young children thrive on consistency and structure, so preparing your children for the return back to school is essential.
Here are a few tips to preparing your child to return back to school after a week away:
- Start reminding your child three days before they are to return to school that break will be over soon and they will go back to school.
- Announcing that their friends will be so happy to see them helps to build the expectancy and excitement.
Reading for their return
Reading books to your children helps not only their social emotional growth but is vital to the development of their vocabulary. The following books can be a great resource for you as you prepare your child to return to school:
- The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn: A little raccoon named Chester is afraid to leave his mother and go to school. Mother Raccoon shares an old family tradition, the “kissing hand,” which comforts Chester and reminds him of his mother’s love, no matter where he goes.
- You Go Away by Dorothy Corey: Full of colorful illustrations, this book is ideal for toddlers and preschoolers struggling with separation. Through a series of relatable examples, this story comforts children with a refrain that drives home a single message: Grown-ups do come back.
- Bye-Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen: Learn that goodbye isn’t forever, and parents will come back at the end of the day, in this kind-hearted board book. They also discover simple rituals that can help a child tremendously — hugs and kisses, a big wave, a deep breath and faith in teachers and friends.
- I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas: Owen the piglet is uncertain about leaving his mother during the day, but she eases his fears by assuring him she’ll love him every minute — from the time he leaves her, until he arrives back at home — even through his adventures without her, including eating lunch and making new friends.
- Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney: With the help from new preschool friends, Llama learns that it is OK to miss Mama Llama and still have fun at school.
Keep to your established routines
- If you had a consistent goodbye ritual, continue to use it. This will comfort your child.
- Some parents give a high-five, a big hug, or butterfly kisses. Your child remembers those special goodbyes you had established before break so please continue them.
Keep calm and carry on
- Your children may shed some tears when returning back from break. This new challenge may shock some parents, and they wonder why this is happening so late in the school year. This is totally normal!
- Transition back to school is hard for some children. Leaving you is not easy but remember, the longer your goodbye, the harder it will be for your child, so please keep these goodbyes brief. Lingering by the door just makes the separation more difficult.
- It’s also important to remain calm and keep your emotions under control during drop off. Your strength and confidence can become your child’s strength and confidence. This too shall pass!
We hope you enjoy your time off with a well-deserved week of rest, relaxation, and bonding with your family - and an easy return afterwards with some of these tips. Have a wonderful week!