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How should I say goodbye to my child on his first day at a new school?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are a few things to help your child to have a positive sendoff to a new school:
  • Point him to "The first thing." Not knowing what to do or where to go upon arriving at a new scene increases anxiety. So offer "first thing" suggestions.
  • Say goodbye and don't linger. Don't draw out the goodbye…doing so actually increases anxiety. A simple and matter-of-fact:"See you soon! and then leave..is a better approach. A matter-of-fact: "See you soon" is better than long-drawn out ones. Don't sneak!
  • Stay calm and put on a happy face. Your child takes cues from you, so be cool to help show confidence in your child. Hold back those tears!
  • Be on time. Be sure you or your designated caregiver picks your child up when you said and at the exact spot you prearranged. In fact, be there five minutes earlier for the pickup will eliminate the agonizing moments a child has waiting if you're late. If he cries when you pick him take it as a compliment! It usually means he's delighted to see you -- not that he hates school.
  • Be patient but know when to worry. Adjustment may take from a day to several weeks, so be patient. For most kids separation anxieties are normal and will pass. The key is to watch for a gradual increase in confidence and a diminishment of school and separation worries. If the anxiety continues or increases, check in with the teacher or counselor to see if they have suggestions to help your child adjust.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.