A Kid’s First Day of School: Seven Mistakes Parents Make

· February 20, 2019
When children begin going to school, it's an adaptation process. Even though parents can help their children transition from being at home to going to school, they can easily disrupt it by doing the following mistakes.

When your baby stops being “your baby” to become a child that’s starting their journey through the education system, you can make many mistakes when it comes to helping them adapt to school. After having spent three to five years caring for your child, it’s obvious leaving them into a teacher’s hands for the first time can be difficult.

You may start feeling nervous and emotional. This separation is difficult for both children and their parents.

However, you’re an adult and you have to help your child. The problem is that, at times, people let their feeling take control and they end up making mistakes that make going to school for the first time difficult.

The Seven Mistakes Parents Make

Mother and son

After putting in some effort to find the best school for your child, you must trust them and help them adapt immediately to this new stage of life. The time it takes to like the school will depend on each child.

When your child starts school, it’s easy to fall into one of these seven mistakes parents make. Sometimes, instead of helping them, you may end up making it more difficult for your child to transition to this new stage of life. So, pay attention to the following common mistakes because they’re situations that can be avoided.

1. Not preparing your child

Not preparing your child for class before they go to school may be the greatest of all the errors made by parents. Children need to know ahead of time what they’ll be experiencing. You have to talk to them in advance in order to prepare them.

A good measure to take is having your child participate in getting started for school. Taking your child school supplies shopping can be very fun. Knowing that they will be using their school supplies within a few days is very good for children.

For many children, just by their parents explaining what they will be doing is enough for them to say goodbye to their old life and start school. If you want to prevent your child from developing school phobia, you must prepare them prior to beginning this new stage of life.

Read this article, too: My Child Is a Tablet Addict

2. Crying in front of your child

Let’s face it. It’s difficult to see children crying, upset or fearful about being in a new place with people they don’t know. Of course, it can make anyone want to cry!

However, remember that you’re the greatest example your child has to learn how to manage their emotions.

Losing control is one of the worst mistakes a parent can make. Your child is already nervous about this new experience, and this reality can become even worse if they see their parents with watery eyes. It would make it less easy for them to adopt to school.

If you’re going to cry, you should do it off school grounds. This first separation is a very strong emotion that will last a few days. However, you will see that your child will gradually become increasingly relaxed.

3. Going back to your child if you hear them crying

Father and daughter

This is one of the most common mistakes parents make. If you have already said goodbye and you hear your child crying or screaming for you, avoid to turning back. It’s one of the most harmful mistakes a parent can make during their child’s first day of school.

The school staff is trained to help your child calm down. The majority of children usually calm down soon, just a few minutes after their parents have left. They begin to interact with the environment, some more than others, but all of them will eventually adapt.

In few cases, a child may not be able to calm down, and surely the school staff will call their parents to pick them up before school ends. However, this isn’t that common. Teachers know how to deal with children that end up crying.

Do yourself and your child a favor: don’t turn back.

4. Checking on your child while they’re at school

Avoid walking around the school to check on your child. Doing it would be a huge mistake.

If your child sees you after they have calmed down, they may want to leave with you. You wouldn’t want to have to say goodbye all over again. This would only make them relive their anguish, and it would make it more difficult for them to adapt.

We know you would like to know how your child is coping with school. However, you should wait until school ends and then directly ask your child about their experience.

5. Leave without saying goodbye

Saying goodbye is a crucial moment during your child’s first days of school. When children put their sad faces on, they’ll ask their parents not to go or they’ll start crying loudly.

However, leaving without them noticing is another mistake parents make. It is not the solution.

On the contrary, you can produce the negative sensation of abandonment. The best thing to do is say goodbye. Make sure you give them a short farewell, a kiss, tell them how much you love them, that you´ll come back later and you hope they’ll have a nice first day of school. Also, give them a hug and a kiss goodbye.

Whatever you do, don’t sneak away.

6. Taking forever to say goodbye

Daughter hugging father's leg

Don’t sneak away or take forever saying goodbye. Again, your farewell should be short. If you take too long, you may give them the wrong impression and they might think you’ll stay. Don’t even promise about staying when you know that’s not going to happen.

Also, if the staff had to calm down your child, seeing you will only have them remember that you left and the teaching atmosphere will become tense. You’ll end up helping the teacher and your child if you say a short farewell.

Check out this article, too: Teach a Child What to Do if They Get Lost

7. Scolding your child for crying ot comparing them to other children

Children may already feel scared on their first day of school, so it can get even worse if you scold and compare them to other children. It’s normal for them to cry during the first few days. Some children will adapt faster than others, but making them feel worse doesn’t help them adapt.

Likewise, the first few days at school may not be difficult to a lot of children. However, it’s possible that they will start crying after the fifth day. This is usually happens. So, be patient and don’t worry or put any pressure on them. Hug them, say goodbye and even though they might cry a little, don’t go back.

In summary, these are some avoidable mistakes that parents make without realizing it. Also, these mistakes can make their children’s adaptation process difficult.

Now, after reading these mistakes, don’t do them. It may be hard for you, but it will be healthy for the sake of your child.

Tyrrell, M. (2005). School phobia. The Journal of School Nursing : The Official Publication of the National Association of School Nurses. https://doi.org/10.1177/10598405050210030401

Pianta, R. C., & McCoy, S. J. (1997). The first day of school: The predictive validity of early school screening. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.12.002

Raver, C. (2003). Young children’s emotional development and school readiness. Society for Research in Child Development’s Social Policy Report. https://doi.org/10.1145/1121241.1121264