A small child being walked to school by her parent.

Back to School Preparation as a Parent

If you have a child who is starting school this year you may have been searching for how to best prepare them. Buying clothes, backpacks, and supplies is top on the list but there are other ways to support your child when preparing them for school.

For children who are entering preschool or kindergarten, this may be the first time they are in a school setting. They may feel anxious, worried, nervous, excited and you may also be feeling this way. The feeling is normal and it is important to communicate that within your family. Talking to your child about their new environment can be helpful. If it is possible, go to the school a few days before to walk around, find the playground, and point out the restrooms to help your child get familiar with the school. If the school does not have an organized event, you can always drive by and point out the school.

Along with preparing back to school, it is important to remember that the first weeks may be rough. Your child is entering a new routine that is more demanding of them and it will take time to adjust. If your child struggles with separation, it can be helpful to have a wallet size picture of the family and put it in their backpack. Print a copy for yourself and tell your child that throughout the day when you miss them and are thinking of them you will look at the picture too. Reading books that describe going to school, being separated from parents, and returning home at the end of the way are helpful ways to prepare your child. Some recommendations are The Kissing Hand, First Day Jitters, and I’ll Always Come Back to You. In addition, dedicate time to talking about the day with your child after school. Asking open-ended questions like “did anything funny happen today,” “who did you eat lunch with?” Will give you insight to their day.

Some children adapt quickly and others take longer, every child has a different temperament. If your child continues to struggle or feel overly-anxious after several months it is important to communicate with their teacher and/or healthcare provider, and seek outside support if necessary.

About The Author

Zee Figueroa, ASW, is an Associate Social Worker at Spark All Wellness in San Francisco. She provides both in-person and virtual appointments.