Welcome to episode one of School and Childcare Transitions. Going into a new classroom or starting a new school is a huge transition with a new attachment figure somebody that is going to be in charge of keeping them safe all day long on who they have to get to know that they don't know yet. It's a big deal, and I'm here to guide you through this. We have five short episodes that will walk you through different steps to take to help this transition be as seamless and emotionally supportive as possible. Buckle up here, folks. All right, let's dive into episode one.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
When it comes to any new transitions or things coming up for kids that are going to be new, I want to share what we know with visual aides. Visual aides are so key for helping kids make sense of the world and to keep track of information. We use them as adults all the time. If I told you that you were going to be starting a new job and that there would be new people there, and you'll get to know all of it once you get there, I didn't tell you when it was happening. I didn't show you any pictures to give you any information about the workplace or your coworkers or who your boss is. I didn't let you know what your day to day would look like. It literally would be so overwhelming for you because you'd be like, wait, what? I don't have enough information. I have more questions than answers, and I need a little bit more from you, Alyssa. When we tell kids you're going to be starting at a new school and it'll be so fun, you're going to do really fun things throughout the day, you're going to meet new friends. It'll be great. But we don't give them more information, they're left with more questions than answers, which can breed anxiety.
Now, navigating the unknown and embracing the fact that there will always be some things that are unknown is one thing, but we can set them up for as much success as possible here. Some of my favorite visual aides are a calendar so they can see what's today, and then when am I starting at this new school? When is this big transition happening? In my house, we have a calendar, and I started using it when my child turned one. He doesn't actively use it yet, but we reference it. It's pictures for him to look at. He knows that the yellow one is today, and I have a little "today is" behind there, and then there's a picture of his childcare provider, or a picture of me if it's a mama day, or a picture of Nana if he's going to be spending the day with Nana, or a picture of our family if it's a family day. When he looks at the calendar and he sees that yellow card that says "today is" which he cannot read yet, but that's fine. He knows that means today he can see, oh, today is a mama day or today's a day I go to school. Or today's a home day with our whole family. In the same way that we use calendars, and sometimes I'm still like, what day even is it? I have to look at a calendar to see what day it is. We want to give this gift to them as well, letting them see, what's today? When are those school days? So they're not asking, is it tomorrow? Is it tomorrow? Is it tomorrow? Is it today? Is it tomorrow? They can really see it and we can direct them to it. Is tomorrow a school day? Let's look at the calendar and see.
Another visual that is so helpful for kids are pictures. So it could be pictures of the classroom, pictures of the teachers or staff at school, pictures of the playground, and really like, what's the space going to look like. Maybe you're going to print them off and put them together like a little book. Or maybe you're going to keep them in an album on your phone and you can search through them with their child and say, let's take a look again. Do you want to look at your new school? I noticed when we're looking at your classroom this time, there's a block area over there. Wow, that's so neat. I wonder what you'll build in that block area. Just helping them tune into, like, here's what to expect, here's what the space is going to look like. That familiarity will make those early days a little easier because the brain is going to say, oh, I've seen this before. It feels a little bit familiar, which means I feel a little safer. Another visual that we can bring into play. Here is the schedule for the day. So maybe you can make little cards that have a picture of, all right, we're going to get ready in the morning. Here's what that's going to look like. Then we're going to get in the car and you're going to go to school. And I was talking to Ms. Semina and she said that when you get to school, you will get to choose where you're going to play. And then when all the kids are there, then it will be time for snack. And then we're going to do a circle time and read a book or do an activity, and then you're going to get ready to go outside, just like letting them know what's the schedule for the day looks like. And you can do this with words. You can do it with visuals. Visuals are a game changer because they can look back at it. They can check back on, what is that schedule, what should I expect? So you can check in with their teachers ahead of time and say, what's the schedule for the day? I'm going to guide my kids through it so that they know what to expect. Now, a number of these that I've mentioned are available in our shop. If you go to seedandsew.org, you can access our shop at the bottom of the page and head on over and snag some of these. They're available for download, and then you can just print them. They are available for download because I'm not the kind of human that creates them myself. So I reached out to our person who runs our graphics, shout out to Beki, who's incredible, and she made them for me to use in my own household. I'm definitely more of a download it, that's already premade kind of gal. So do with that what you will, if you feeling crafty and you want to make them awesome. If not, we've got some for you.
And another visual to incorporate, and this could be in your schedule, it could be in your calendar, or it could be a separate visual, is who's doing drop off/who's doing pick up. So that your child knows who to expect. Okay, tomorrow when we get ready, I know Mama is going to drop me off and Mommy is going to pick me up, or dad is going to bring me and Nana's going to pick me up so they know what to expect, who to expect again when we know what's coming next, it helps our nervous system feel safe. It's comforting. And it doesn't mean we will always have all the information we won't.
And we'll talk about how to navigate that anxiety with kids and when to talk about school coming. That's coming in a couple of episodes, today here are just things that we will address, the information that we know. Here's the teacher. Here's the name of the school. This will be your schedule for the day. Here's who's picking you up and dropping you off with visuals. So now would be the time to gather your visuals, start creating those, and then in a couple of episodes, we'll dive into when to talk about it, when to tell your child and how to support them, depending on their nervous system. As to whether earlier is better, a little closer to the date is better. It really depends on how they navigate anxiety. We'll dive into that soon. So go ahead. Go get your visuals up and running and join me tomorrow to talk about the feelings and coping strategies part of a transition.
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