My toddler was incredibly excited to start school in September, but by October, she was have a hard time adjusting. A new routine, less time with mom and dad, and a busier schedule have made for one crabby, school-hating little girl. So we had to make some adjustments in our routine. These are the changes we made that we found to be most helpful:
- Wake up earlier. We started the school transition in August and by September, we had our morning routine down 30 minutes. Which was great for me, more sleep! I thought that meant it would be good news for her too. I didn’t realize the difference. It’s great to get up and out the door in the 30 minutes when you were going to be spending all day with mom. It’s far different to be out the door in 30 minutes when you’re headed to school and leaving mom for the day. I found she needed that extra 20 – 30 minutes with me in the morning over a leisurely breakfast for the courage to face the rest of the day.
- Communication is key. I was making the mistake of treating school drop off like ripping off a bandaid. I knew it was making her upset and I thought the best thing for me to do was make goodbye short and sweet. Unfortunately, it was making the problem worse because what she really needed was time and communication. Now we arrive to school five minutes early. I help her put her stuff away and we talk about the day. Before I leave, I remind her that I’ll be back to get her at the end of the day and give hugs and kisses goodbye.
- Allow for a choice. Maddilyn was used to planning her day with me. Which usually consisted of play time, more play time and visiting grandparents. Suddenly, four days a week her schedule is instead, entirely planned out for her. She doesn’t have a say in it or get a choice about the time or days she gets to attend school. So now I’ve been trying to give her more opportunity to make her own decisions and choices, even if it’s as simple as choosing her after school snack. (Just make sure you are OK with both choices before you offer them).
- Last but not least, let them know you’re thinking of them. Whether it’s a smiley face on their sandwich or a cute note tucked into their lunchbox, it’s going to make them smile at lunch time. Check out these really cute FREE printable lunchbox notes from Nestle. You can personalize them with unique backgrounds, stickers and messages. (Tip: Don’t worry if your child is not able to read yet. Teachers are often more than happy to help young readers out with notes. ;))