Updated: Jun 8, 2020
One of the hardest things for parents change for our little ones. When I transitioned Beckett to Pathways I was so nervous - and I am with him! The most common fear we have for our young one starting a new program is how they will feel, but the tips below will help your child transition to a new program with ease!
Tour the School Together!
Start by taking a tour of the facility and meeting the staff together. Come prepared with questions that will help you talk about this change with your child. For example, Beckett really dislikes taking a nap, so I would ask "what can he do during the required rest time?" Be upfront about your child's behaviors and your concerns. This gives the teaching staff and administration the ability to make adjustments before your child arrives for the first day. If you child is shy, thats helpful information, so we don't overwhelm your child when they enter the classroom for the first time. It also gives them the opportunity to get familiar with the environment, teachers and the children in their class.
Request a Social Story.
If you have time before you start a program, ask the school to create a small social story for home. A social story is a series of pictures of various people and places your child will encounter throughout their day. It could be pictures of the teachers, children, classroom, toys, and playground. It's also helpful to share your child's interested during a tour so the social story can include pictures of toys your child would be excited to play with.
Get a Schedule!
During your tour, ask for a daily schedule that includes things like nap and lunch. At home, use that schedule to get your child in a routine of going outside, taking a nap and eating lunch at those same times. You might have some small adjustments, but those small adjustments will make a great difference in your child's first day at school.
Talk with Your Child.
Create a dialog with your child about their concerns, fear and hopeful excitements! Be sure to ask open-ended questions such as "What are you most excited to play with at Pathways?" or "If you want to play with a new friend, what can you say?"
Communicate with Staff
You know your child better than anyone, if you notice any hesitation in your child about the transition, communicate that to the staff of the first day. If you are feeling anxious yourself about changing schools, reach out before the first day or even throughout the day to get updates and feedback, your peace of mind will help your child know, this change is good.