Help Your Sensitive Child Begin the New School Year

Insights from an Early Childhood Teacher

  •  Be aware of your own anxiety. Your sensitive child will pick up on it. Keep your own schedule as relaxed as possible leading up to and first few weeks of school.
  • Connect with your child’s teacher and ask if it is possible to arrange a 1-1 visit to the classroom a week or two before school begins.
  • Ask the teacher if it is OK to bring a plant to school ~ this can be a ‘touch stone’ for your child to feel connected as he/she shops and cares for plant.
  • Speak to teacher privately and explain your child’s sensitivity. Ask if she can create a ‘private connection ritual’ such as giving child a special task or toy on arrival to classroom.
  • Bring a copy of The Highly Sensitive Child and share the results of the ‘quiz’… photocopy the “tips for teachers” in the back of the book and make notes about your child in the margins. Ask if teacher would like their own copy of the book.
  • Visit the classroom and playground a week or two before school starts ~ ask for permission to come each day for a few minutes ~ this allows your child to start to feel safe in a new environment.
  • Begin your morning and evening school routines a week or two before school actually begins ~ don’t talk about school, just have fun with the routines.
  • Take pictures with your child as you move through your routines… put photos on a piece of posterboard with velcro so you can move the pieces around.
  • The week before school- Move through morning routines, get dressed and out of the house… go for a fun breakfast, to the park, etc… then drive the route to school, noticing things along the way… take a walk around building, play in playground… keep it fun!!! Let the child lead the discussion… don’t keep saying, “and this is how it will be in school.” …just let the child have a positive experience.
  • Buy new crayons and suggest the child take one of his/her pictures to the teacher…
  • Take pictures in the classroom and in the playground.  Show them to dad, grandma, nanny, etc. and encourage child to talk about what they did there and how it felt.
  • Use photos to make a book and let child give you the words…. For example, “This is my new school.  This is my teacher.”  Read the book together and allow the child to ‘process out loud’ any feelings or stories that come up.
  • Take photos of your family, pets, house… Make similar book and bring it to school so the child can show it to teacher…
  • Make sure all new clothes, shoes, etc. are physically comfortable. Do not wait until the first day of school to try new clothes, shoes or hairstyles.
  • DO NOT WORRY about how your child looks… Your child’s teacher does not care about new clothes and perfect hair 😉

Want more tips or personal suggestions for challenges you’re facing?

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