I’ve mentioned before that Watson often has quite a bit of separation anxiety. Even for a three hour day at Mother’s Morning Out preschool, he still latches onto my legs and cries at drop off. Of course, he’s fine after less than five minutes, but it’s just that initial separation that tears him apart. Some mornings, drop off is easier than others and I’ve tried to mentally make note of things that might be different on those better days.
Today I’m sharing five things we are doing to make that back to school transition a little easier on all of us, especially with emotions considered! In our case, these tips apply to a three year old, but I do think they could be beneficial for all ages if you find yourself in a similar anxiety-ridden situation with your children. And as always, this is simply our experience.
1. Managing my own hurriedness and anxiety. We all know how stressful mornings can be in getting everyone out of the house—dressed, fed, and ready for the day. I’ve realized that when I’m letting my own stress and hurry show, even though I try to always be calm, it makes Watson a little uneasy. So to manage that, we set out lunchboxes and water bottles the night before, pick out outfits the night before, and basically do anything we can to make the mornings as easy as possible. Though they still never are, it certainly helps my morning anxiety to feel more prepared for the day. I’m also going to work on getting to school early this year, because I know Watson and Rosie can both tell when we are late based on the tone of my voice and shortness with them when we arrive. You know… “Hurry, Watson, we’ve got to go! Put down your toy—let’s get out of the car now.” I know this tone and sense of hurry can put added stress on us all and I definitely don’t ever want to be the culprit of that.
2. Be the hype girl. I’m always trying to lift Watson’s mood when it comes to school and remind him how much he actually likes it. I’ll ask him questions like, “What are you most excited for about starting school?” And “Do you think “x” is going to be in your class? Wouldn’t that be fun!” Positivity, positivity, positivity always, but especially as we lead into the school year and make yet another transition.
3. Don’t diminish his worries. Bless Watson’s heart… he get’s worrying from my side of the family. I used to always find myself saying to him, “Oh, don’t worry about that, buddy!” to him. But then after doing some reading and thinking, I realized that by not addressing his feelings, I’m just diminishing his fears and acting like they aren’t important. Now I try to let him know it’s okay to be worried and help him work through it with empathy. For example, “I know it can be so easy to worry about going back to school. I felt the same way when I was little. But you are going to meet so many new friends and have such a fun time, don’t you think?”
4. Do a test run. I want Watson’s school building to be as familiar as it can be to him. Over the summer, we’ve been going to the playground at his school to keep him acquainted with the surroundings there. And every time we drive by it, I say “Look! There’s your school!!” If you’re totally new to a school, I’d suggest asking the director if you could do a walk through before the school year starts—even before any of the “meet the teacher” events… when it’s still quiet in the halls and your child can get a lay of the land when it’s nice and calm.
5. Get back into the back to school routine beforehand. We stay in a pretty good routine throughout the year, but for the past few weeks before school starts, I’ve been making sure to get the kids out of their jammies around the same time we would during the school year. I also have been diligent about making sure nap/quiet time takes place at the same time as it would during the school year. Honestly, it would have been much easier on us all to be on a different nap schedule this summer, but I didn’t want to break away from the nap time Rosie usually has when school is in session. Whatever you can do to adjust your schedule as close to a school schedule as you can, definitely go ahead and do it! This also goes for bedtime and wake time. No one operates well when they are tired, but toddlers especially seem to have a tough time when they are tired. For this reason, we don’t waver from their 7:30pm bedtimes except for rare occasions!
Both of their outfits are from Bloomingdale’s. I’ve been so thrilled to partner with them this month to share a few looks I’ve picked out for the babies (I think I will always call them babies!) and for me, too. I especially really love the lines Bloomingdale’s carries for children—it’s the perfect blend of styles to suit anyone’s taste. And I honestly cannot get enough of Watson and Rosie in their little Tom’s!
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