So I won’t lie, the change over from pre-school to grade 1 has been daunting to say the least – for both myself, Amra, my husband, frankly our entire home including my mom and brothers and sister. It’s as if no one can adapt and can accept that our little girl is growing up. The first day of school was not just a big day for the her, as she is the eldest child and first grandchild, it was a first time and big day for us as well.
Two weeks in and we are slowly making peace that this will be our lives for the next 12 years. Suddenly our mornings are earlier and as I watch as my little girl lug all these bags and she endure a full packed day. While prepping her for her first day, and listening to her ask me questions about her new school, I realised that she had some fears, just like I did. At that moment, I had to put my fears aside and prep my little girl for what was to come.
I was plagued by questions like “mommy, what if no one likes me?” and “what if no one wants to play with me?” and “what if I cant eat my lunch in time?” It was at that time that I realised, while my fears were real, her fears mattered most. In short, she wanted to know if she could cope and would be accepted. Something so vital to children. It was time for me to yet again put on my big girl panties and be there for her – like a mother should be. As i brushed her hair and looked at this little girl growing up so fast before my eyes, I told her “you are going to love your new school, your friends will love because you are kind, smart and funny and you’ll see that you’ll have a big group of friends to play with because you will all play together. And don’t worry about eating your lunch fast, eat at your own pace and you’ll be fine. ” It was at that moment that I saw all her fears disappear.
But like all things in life, change is inevitable. It’s how you as the parent cope with it, that determines how your child will handle it. Here are some tips that I’m hoping will help make myself and Amra transition into school life a little bit easier:
- Keep your emotions intact – Anxiety is real and very contagious. Trust me, I get it, emotions are high but one thing I know for sure, Amra feels my emotions. And that’s the last thing she needs. So, even a note to myself, deal with your emotions.
- Keep it REAL – Children are perceptive. I shit you not. Your behavior speaks volumes. So check yourself before you wreck yourself…and them.
- Keep talking – I seem to have inherited this trait from my mom, but really, talk to your child. All. The. Time. Discuss their fears and always ask them what’s worrying them. This will help alleviate their anxiety.
- Keep the outlook positive – Talk to them about school. Be positive on your outlook. This will tell them that they can always talk to you about anything. And in return, it will reduce their anxiety, stress, and help them mentally prepare for anything.
- Keep the morning routine the same – I know this may be hard, but if they’re used to mommy taking them to school, stick to that routine as much as possible. This will be seen as a special time just for the two of you.
- Keep the after school prep routine the same – Again, easier said than done. It’s an amazing time to bond with them. You and your child can spend the time packing the school bags for the next school day, and preparing their snacks so it constantly boosts excitement for the school day to come and most importantly, it strengthens, bonding which is always vital.
- Keep calm – Try to avoid a meltdown as much as you can. It’s exhausting for everyone. As a working mom, it’s sometimes not possible but I’ve realised I’d rather get to work late than upset an entire household.
- Keep the tears at bay – Mommy, save the tears, be their joy – especially grade 1 mommies, they need us.
- Keep the communication open between yourself and teachers – Without being annoying, keep the communication between you and the teacher. She/He will be the person spending a lot of time with your child.
- Keep the communication open between yourself and parents – Talk to other parents . They may be feeling just the same as you.
- Keep the music on – As my husband will say – never stop dancing. Turn up that happy music in the morning, as you leave school or when you get home and dance your stress away. My daughter loves it.
How are things going parents?