Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preparing for Transitioning to School by Glenda Propst

Nannies go through all kinds of transitions at different stages of their jobs.
The longer you stay with a family the more transitions you go through.
One of the biggest transitions a nanny and a parent go through is when the children go to school.
Even if a nanny works full time most children do go to some kind of structured pre- school to prepare them for Kindergarten.
No matter how well your kids do with short separations, when it comes to that harsh reality of being away from you for a full day sometimes it is a bigger adjustment than you were expecting it would be.
Here are some tips to help your child through this transition.

1.      If you are a nanny, you need to talk with your employer about the upcoming changes. You need to discuss positive ways to implement these changes into all of your lives and be sure that you present a united front.
2.    Prepare children for what will be happening. Always talk about this change in a positive way but be sure they understand that he/she will be in school for a longer period of time.
3.    Start easing the child into the morning routines a week or two before school starts. Think about what time your child needs to be in bed each night and if they have been staying up late during the summer, discuss with the parents about making their bed time earlier so that the changes are gradual. The same with the morning, if they have been sleeping until 10 AM, start getting them up at 9, and then 8:30 and so on until they adjust to getting up at the time they have to get up for school. Anything you can do to make changes early will help so that there are not so many changes when school finally begins.
4.    There is usually a “meet the teacher” before the first day of school. Discuss with the parents who will be taking the child to meet the teacher,whether it will be both of you, or if you will do this by yourself.
If the parents will be taking the child, you might sit down together before that visit and think about what you want to show the child at the school.
Here are some ideas:
Be sure that your child is familiar with their school and the classroom. Spend some time walking around the school so that the child knows where the office is, where the lunch room is, where the bathrooms are located and the way to get into his classroom. Also go over where you will pick them up each day or where they will go to wait for the bus. If the child is going to be walking, you might want to go over the route with them and point out things along the way that will help them know they are going the right direction.    

5.    Work with your employer to create a morning and afternoon routine. Children gain a lot of security from structure and it is very important for them to have a morning and afternoon routine so that they can know what will happen each day. (Of course there will be days when the routine gets changed but be sure to try and warn them when things might be different so that they know what to expect)
6.    Work together to create calm, peaceful mornings to set the pace for the child’s day. Try to lay out their clothes the night before so that they can get up in the morning and get dressed without having to go through the decisions about what to wear.
7.    If the child will be taking a lunch to school, allow them to have some choices about what they will take and try to put together as much of their lunch as you can the night before. Establishing these routines at the beginning of the year will make it much easier to get on track.
8.    Encourage independence and always focus on the positive aspects of this big change in their life and yours. If your child has questions, or fears or worries be sure to re-assure them that there is nothing that they can’t talk to you about, and don’t laugh at their concerns. Some of the most minor things create the greatest anxiety for children.
9. If you (as the nanny) don't go to the "meet the teacher day" most parents are great about letting the teacher know about you and the importance of the role you play in the family. If for some reason this doesn't happen, be sure that you make the opportunity to introduce yourself to your child's teacher.

Here's hoping we all have a wonderful, educational school year as we watch our charges grow and learn.