Starting school is one of the biggest milestones a child will go through during his or her young life, and though it’s obviously an exciting time, it also can be a stressful time.

There are some ways to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Ease Your Child into the New Setting

Most schools offer an early day for visitation via open house programs, and parents are highly encouraged to take advantage. The experience can prove invaluable and is an excellent way to help ease a child into the new school setting while also keeping him or her comfortable with parental support on hand.

It gives both the parent and child a chance to meet the teacher and staff, plus your child will be more comfortable with the atmosphere and protocol before showing up on the first day.

Say Goodbye — and Mean It

Many children suffer from separation anxiety, but parents can sometimes unknowingly exacerbate the problem. One way to help is for parents to say a quick goodbye when dropping off the child and not linger. It may be harder on the child if there’s not a consistent exit, and he or she may try to further delay the exit by crying.

Leave quickly so the child can start the day and class routine, and though there may be tears initially, it should make it easier in the long run.

At pick­up time, also be sure to be extremely encouraging.

Use a ‘Lovey’ If Needed

Though some children adjust quickly to everything from sleeping alone to school, others may require some extra comfort and encouragement. In many cases, that might take the form of a favorite blanket, toy or stuffed animal.

That can work fine at home, or at daycare or preschool, but when a child starts school it can be a lot tougher to hold onto that comfort item.

One tactic that can help a child with a proclivity toward a comfort object is the “lovey” approach. Basically, the idea is to use something much smaller (such as a corner of their favorite blanket) your child can keep on them throughout the day to make them comfortable.

Another approach can be to use a coin, small shell or stone, and let the child know if he or she ever misses you to touch that item in his or her pocket to remember you.

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