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Illustration of Tips to help children adjust

Back to school…three exciting words for parents and children alike. However, these words can be overwhelming to parents who are placing their children in a school setting for the first time. Partnering with the school to help with the transition is key. Here are some simple and easy tips for transitioning your child into a new school setting.

1. Be enthusiastic about the upcoming change. If you are excited and confident, your child will be too.

2. Prepare yourself. Take note of how your child reacts to separation. If possible, visit the new setting with your child. Introduce your child to the new teacher or early childhood professional in advance.

3. Arrange a play date with another child from the program, preferably one-on-one, so that your child will see a familiar face when she walks in.

4. Start daily routines that will add to continuity. Let your child become involved with packing lunch or laying out clothes. Also, begin an early bedtime several weeks before.

5. Put aside extra time, particularly on the first day, for chatting and communicating together. But remember not to prolong the good-bye. If the child whines or clings, staying will only make it harder.

6. Always say good-bye to your child. Be firm, but friendly about separating. Never ridicule a child for crying. Instead, make supportive statements such as, “It’s hard to say good-bye.”

7. At the end of the workday, but aside from your concerns and focus on being a parent.

8. Keep open communication with your child’s teacher (ex. changes at home, potty training, visitors).

9. Have your child pick a special stuffed animal or treasure to share with their new classmates (be sure to check with your school’s policies about bringing items from home).

10. Read books about going to school for the first time.

  • The Kissing Hand
  • Curious George’s First Day of School
  • Llama Llama Misses Mama
  • The Babies on the Bus

Change is difficult even for adults. Utilizing even a few of the above-mentioned tips can aid in a smooth transition from home to school.

*excerpts from “Back To School Time — Tips To Help Children Adjust” NAEYC (