Your baby is finally going to school or nursery
You’ve bumbled through the first 36 months and somehow your child seems to be adjusting well to living in this world with you as a parent. You’ve navigated sleepless nights, weaning, teething, crawling, walking, the terrible twos, potty training and more. Now…supposedly… you’ve got to pack your little one off for a few hours a day. How are they going to cope with the transition to school or nursery? How are YOU going to cope? Stop, take a breath, you’ve got this.
As with most aspects of parenting, everyone has different worries about each challenge they face, and essentially we all come up with the solution that best suits us. But here are a few things to think about when preparing to send the apple of your eye into the big wide world of further education for the first time. Sorry, I meant nursery (I jumped ahead a couple of years😜).
A practical thought for a practical dad.
Talk to your school or nursery and see what sort of pastoral care they offer. Often schools have dedicated members of staff whose job it is to ensure the mental and physical welfare of your child while in their care. If you have any concerns, they can offer help and advice on anything you are worried about.
An organised thought for an organised dad
Prepare your child. A pastoral care professional once told me something that made a lot of sense. They said if your child knows the 10 things they will be doing during their school day, that’s 10 less things they have to worry about. A lot of anxieties around starting school or nursery come from not knowing what to expect. The more you prepare and know what to expect the less likely you are to be worried.
A reassuring thought for a loving dad
It’s ok to feel separation anxiety. School or nursery can mean you spend less time with your highly demanding ‘Daddy watch this, Daddy watch this…’ whirlwind. It’s only natural for you to miss that time with them. So don’t be surprised when the tears start streaming down your face as you walk/drive away after drop off. And if it’s not you it’s likely to be your partner so be ready to be that shoulder to cry on. Which bring us nicely to my next point.
A helpful thought for a thoughtful dad
Support your partner or talk to someone who can support you. Men especially can get caught up in their own feelings. You may find it difficult, but talk to those around you who may also be involved in the situation. Whether you are a married couple, co-parents, or a single parent, talking to other people can really help. They might have their own worries and concerns and you may be able to help each other. A problem shared is a problem halved.
A key thought for a nervous dad.
Try to stay calm and don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your nursery hero. Children pick up on your anxieties without you specifically talking about them. The more nervous you are the more nervous your child may become. Everything doesn’t have to work out on the first day. This is a transition period and you have plenty of time to settle and get comfortable with things. So why worry? You’ll get there in the end.
Hopefully I’ve given you a little food for thought and helped alleviate some of your worries about the transition to school or nursery. If you are dad, or you know a dad who might be interested in this or any other parenting subject make sure you share the Dadvengers content with them. We are a supportive online community whose primary goal is to support dads on their journey through parenthood. Mums, Grandparents, Carers, Uncles, Aunties, are all a key part of that support so you are all welcome here too.
Hope to see you at one of our Live Dad Chats soon