Saying goodbye to swing sets and slurpees and good morning to school books and Social Studies is hard for most kids. Dr. Katherine Gibson, Psy.D. and Hayley Cooper, Psy.D., of Parent and Child Psychological Services, PLLC in New York City share their tips for how to tackle the summer-to-school transition before the post-Labor Day letdown hits. By Rosa Heyman, REDBOOK.
"When parents worry about a child's reaction to starting the school year, it often results in the child thinking there is something to worry about. Kids will pick up on your energy, so be enthusiastic about the beginning of school," advise Dr. Cooper and Dr. Gibson.
"Avoid statements like, 'I'm going to miss you' or 'What am I going to do all day without you?'" suggest Dr. Gibson and Dr. Cooper. "You don't want your child to feel worried about you."
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Make up a secret sign
For kids who have an especially hard time separating from their parents, create a secret signal that just you two know. "You and your child can make a routine of giving it to one another at drop-off and pick-up each day. Tell your child that they can always do the signal on their own if they miss you during the day," says Dr. Gibson and Dr. Cooper.
Phone a friend
"Try to find out if your child has a friend in the class. Arrange play dates or activities with that friend before the school year starts."
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Get back on schedule
Dr. Gibson and Dr. Cooper suggest getting back into the school routine a week or two before school actually starts. "Drive or walk by school a few times before the first day."
Make Staples a staple
Make getting school supplies fun! "Pick a notebook or binder that your child will be excited about using," say Dr. Gibson and Dr. Cooper.
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Ask a professional
"If your child's fear seems excessive, call a professional. They may need a little extra help."
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