Is Your Child Scared of School? Parenting Tips from Dr. Vicki Folds of Children of America Educational Childcare Centers

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Parenting tips to ease apprehension on first day of school from renowned childcare expert Vicki Folds, Ed.D. of Children of America Educational Childcare Centers

Dr. Vicki Folds, Children of America Childcare Centers

Does the mention of school bring your child to crocodile tears? Like many adults, children can experience forms of anxiety that come from a variety of sources and at a young age starting childcare or school can be very stressful.

"One of the most common situations for young children to experience anxiety comes at the transition period between leaving home and attending childcare or school," states Vicki Folds, Ed.D., vice president of education and professional development for Children of America, a high-quality childcare service provider focused on early childhood education, and renowned early child development expert and author of several childcare books.

According to Dr. Folds, parents should recognize the potential signs of stress and offers these tips to help make this a seamless transition:

Do a test run
Visit the childcare center or school your child will attend a couple days prior to the first day to help familiarize them with the area. It's a great idea to enter the school, walk through the classroom, visit the bathroom and talk about the fun activities the teachers have planned.

Make it interactive
An older child will want to be part of the plan. Discuss what will occur on the first day of school with your child and let them take part in choosing the clothes he or she will wear, shopping for and packing their book bag or getting their lunch box ready the night before.

Set the example
Parents often convey their own apprehension to their child through their mannerisms and gestures. Be sure to maintain a positive attitude about your child's entrance into childcare or school and talk openly, answering any questions that may arise.

Engage your child's attention
Try to calm your child on the way to childcare or school with a distraction such as a game of "I Spy" or by conveying a story about your own first day of school. Both activities will pass the time and help maintain a positive state of mind for both of you.

Reassure your child
Every child needs to know that their family loves them and are not deserting them when they drop them off at childcare or school. You should shower your child with love and kisses at drop-off and convey that you will be back when school is finished that day.

Keep your child's teachers informed
Your child's teachers should be informed of any physical issues such as food or medicine allergies or a recent change in the family structure such as death or divorce. These situations can greatly impact your child and teachers in the know will be better prepared to deal with any situations that arise while you are away.

"Remember, your child is only young once. Apprehension and anxiety about school will typically pass after your child develops a comfortable routine," Dr. Folds adds.

About Vicki Folds, Ed.D.
Dr. Vicki Folds is vice president of education and professional development for Children of America in Delray Beach, Fla. She is one of the nation's leading child development experts with 35 years of hands-on and research and experience and several published childcare books including "Tray Tasking" and "Three Step Tray Tasking." Dr. Folds is currently on the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Consulting Editors Panel and reviews articles for its Young Children Journal as well as future books for publication.

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KATIE LENNON
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