Where did summer go? In just a few short weeks, buses will be en route, children will be anticipating that first day, and parents will be gathering all of those needed school supplies. So what’s the best way to prepare your children for that first day of school?

Children going into kindergarten can have a lot of anxiety about what school will be like. In many cases that anxiety can be parent-imposed as parents struggle with the new found role of their “babies.” Saying goodbye while your most precious cargo sails into the sunset on that big yellow school bus can invoke lots of feelings. The number of parents holding back tears can be equal to those children shedding them. The best way to prepare your child for their first day of school is to first prepare yourself parents. Assess how you feel in all of this. If you’re feeling anxious or fearful, address your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one — away from the ear shot of your children. The only thing your children should hear from you about school is positive reinforcement. ‘Oh, wow, you get to have a new teacher! You get to make new friends. It can be like a great adventure finding where the art class, bathroom and lunchroom are.” Everything can be spun positively… everything! It’s an enormous burden for children to have to shoulder the emotional roller coaster of their parents. Being mindful of what we bring to the dynamics is key.

Listen, with three children of my own, one of which is entering kindergarten this year, I certainly can be one of those parents if I do not practice self-awareness. After all, these are our babies, we nurtured, protected and sheltered them from harm. What is amazing is the adaptability of children, even very young ones. I can say I have witnessed thousands of young children enter into the school building each year for the first time who transition well and show great resiliency to change and new endeavors. The best way to prepare your young one emotionally for the start of the new school year, is to start with being mindful of how we present their impending new adventure.

Tenise Wall, LMSW has been serving the Hudson Valley since 2002. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker having obtained a Master’s Degree from Fordham University. She is the award recipient of the 2009 Orange County Tribute to Women of Achievement in the area of Education. She is the author of Pain to Purpose www.WallProfessionalServices.org.  If you have a blogging topic of interest or a question for me to answer, you could contact me at tenise@wallprofessionalservices.org.