Toddlers and preschools need to adjust to back to school season as well! Back to school can be stressful for preschoolers and toddlers who will be left behind by their older siblings. They may feel left out and want to go too.
Adjust to Back to School with School Supplies
While purchasing back to school supplies stock up on your toddler’s favorite arts and crafts items. Back to school is the perfect time, because most items will be cheap. Consider buying a small back-pack or tote. Last year my twins were 3 when my oldest went back-to-school, I purchased them a small back-pack that they chose, and they would fill it with toys and things and pretend to be leaving for school.
It will be very tempting to simply keep them occupied since all summer they had a constant companion to keep them busy. If your little ones are showing signs of sadness, listen to them and their feelings. Toddlers need understanding, love and patience, let them know that it’s safe to discuss what they are going through.
Try to keep them busy, pack a lunch and head out to the park. Make a play date with a friend or take them to the library. Let them pick out a book so they have “homework” too. Here are a few books to choose from that might help them understand and express their emotions.
The Way I Feel is a book that’s geared towards kids ages 2-8 explaining their feelings and helping them understand that feelings are a normal part of life. You and your kids will love the vivid illustrations.
When I Feel Sad (Way I Feel Books) is a book full of situations that kids can relate to, while offering solutions that they can actually implement in their daily lives. This book is rated ages 3 and up but I’m recommending it because it discusses such emotions as anger, jealousy, sadness and fear, all of which an 18-24 month old experiences. When I read a story to my kids that is somewhat over their maturity level or that they don’t understand, I tell them the story using my own words and using the pictures as references.
Jasper John Dooley: Left Behind is a story about a boy, Jasper who’s Nana is leaving on a cruise for a whole week. He worries about all the things she’ll miss while she’s gone. Then he realizes that waiting for someone to come back feels like forever unless, you’re having an adventure of your own. This story is a good way to discuss with your kids how Jasper coped with his Nana’s absence as well as show that she did return and so will their sibling(s)
During homework time set them up with an activity to do that makes them feel a part of the routine. As I mentioned above, a library book is a way to make them feel a part of the routine.
At bedtime remind them that their siblings are heading to school again in the morning. It may take a while for them to understand that it’s a daily thing. Perhaps try counting the sleeps until the weekend or crossing off the days on a calendar.