Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

The First Day of School

What are some ways that make "letting go" easier when our children start school?

What are some ways that make “letting go” easier when our children start school?

“Making the decision to have a child—it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” —Elizabeth Stone

As a mother, I know this to be true. From the moment they come into our lives it feels like our children are a part of us.

It doesn’t matter if your child is 6-weeks- or 6-years-old, if they are beginning their first day of preschool or first day of middle school, if it’s your first child or your fourth child… they are a piece of our hearts and letting them go to be cared for by a child care provider or school teacher is tough.

As summer comes to an end and back-to-school is approaching I’ve been thinking about the person who will share a piece of my heart, and considering some ways that make letting go a little easier.

An open letter to my child’s teacher on the first day of school

Beginning today you will become one of the most important people in my life. I am sharing my child with you. He will spend more of his waking hours with you than with me and you will become a meaningful person in his life. He is coming to you to learn but he needs more from you than academics. First and foremost please create a safe and trusting environment that will build his confidence and allow him to love learning. Please share yourself with him —tell him about your interests, your family, what you were like as a child— and he will feel connected and important. Take the time to see his unique talents and challenges and build from that knowledge to help him succeed. I know teaching isn’t only a job. I’ve seen teachers go above and beyond— spending their own time and money to support their students. I appreciate your sacrifice and your effort. Please know how important you are and that you have my support during this journey.

Thank you for all you do.

Some ways to make letting go easier

Meet the Teacher – most schools hold a meet the teacher event before the first day of school each year. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to visit the classroom and talk to the teacher. It can help reduce first day anxiety for your child (and for you!).

Write a brief description about your child’s personality to give to the teacher. Some schools provide parent input forms to help the teacher get to know his/her future students. These forms ask the parent to describe their child’s personality, the child’s likes and dislikes, etc. This can be a great aid for teachers when they are getting to know your child. If the school or classroom teacher does not provide this, write one yourself. Your teacher will appreciate the support.

Volunteer in your child’s classroom. Ask the teacher what you can do to help. Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to build relationships with the teacher and to strengthen your relationship with your child by being involved with this part of their lives. If your work schedule makes it hard to volunteer during the day, ask the teacher what else you can do to contribute to your child’s class.

Ask the teacher what is the best way to keep in contact with him/her.

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