It’s back-to-school time, and that means there might be some nerves, extra excitement, and perhaps even some tears in the days ahead. Your kids might also experience these emotions. 😉
The truth is, transitions are hard on everyone, and often emotions come to a boiling point when it’s time for drop off. With kids ranging from 10 months to 8 years old, we are a group of moms who have been there and dealt with our share of drop-off drama. We compiled a list of our tried and true tips in the hopes that they might help your kids – and you – in the coming weeks!
Preparing Your Kids
From Pinterest tips to Daniel Tiger episodes, you can find an abundance of resources to help prepare your child for the transition to a different school or a new classroom. Here are some of the things we’ve found success with:
- Books: Books are a great way to help kids normalize their emotions, process those emotions as they watch characters do so, and know what to expect when they get to school. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The Kissing Hand: If possible, make time to read this in the morning (we know… mornings are hectic) before leaving for school. Some editions have stickers in the back of the book to place on your child’s hand before leaving for school to remind them throughout the day that you love them and are looking forward to seeing them after school.
- The Night Before Preschool: This book helps remind kids what they will do with their things, the different parts of their day, and the kind of friend they should be to people who might also be nervous. For kids starting “big kid school,” you can also try the companion, The Night Before Kindergarten.
- Curious George’s First Day of School: This one is less about preparation, but the lighthearted story of this silly monkey helps kids remember that school is fun, not scary!
- Prayer: The Bible tells us to “Be anxious about nothing but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” But that’s not all. We are then promised that “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Try praying right before you pull into the carpool lane or as you are walking your child into class. You can thank God for your school and teachers, pray that God will help ease your kids’ nerves and remind them that He is with them, and pray for protection until you are back together that evening.Praying not only helps set the tone for the day, it helps remind your kids that they can turn to God any time and He will hear them and be with them!
- Familiar Item: Whether your child is starting Lionheart for the first time or just switching to a new class, a familiar item from home can help the transition. This could be a special lovie, a blanket, or anything small that reminds them of home. They might not be able to keep it out through the day, but teachers will be sensitive to the need for a comfort item. Older kids might need to keep their item in their backpack, but just knowing it’s there can be a comfort.
Transitioning to the Teacher
No matter how much we prepare, the actual transition still might not go as smoothly as you would hope, so here are our rules of thumb for the drop off itself.
- Keep it brief: While you understandably want to see your child start engaging the day with a smile on their face, sometimes your presence just makes it worse. Create a short goodbye routine (hug or a high five and say “I love you!”), and then be on your way. It’s hard to walk away if they are crying, but they will be able to get into their routine faster if you aren’t in the room.
- Trust the Teacher: Your child’s tears are much harder on you than on their teacher. Teachers are masters at helping settle and calm children coming into their classroom – especially Lionheart teachers! Let them do their job, and trust them to help your child start engaging when they are ready.
At Lionheart, teachers send pictures of your kids throughout the day, so you can see all the fun they are having and feel assured they are doing just fine.
Take care of yourself
Knowing that your kids will be ok doesn’t mean drop-off drama is not hard on moms. When our kids are struggling, we put so much focus on making sure they are prepared, calm, settled, and doing alright that we can fail to think about implementing practices to help ourselves with the transition. Here are a few tips that have helped us:
- Scripture: You understandably need assurance of security for you and your kids during this transition, so turn to the only true source of security, God’s Word. Pick a passage of scripture to claim over each of your children. Recite it over them as you drive away to help you leave calmly and trust that they will be fine once they settle into their classrooms.
- Journaling: On the first day of school, go to your favorite coffee shop, take a deep breath, appreciate the fact you made it through drop off, and write plans and prayers for the year ahead for each of your children.
- Phone a friend. Whether you vent about the hardship of the morning or talk about anything but family and kids and drop off, talking to a friend can help lift your mood and get you ready for the day ahead.
No matter what emotions this time of year brings for you and your household or how crazy drop-off gets, remember that we’re here for you, we are cheering for you, and most importantly, God’s got you!