There are many wonderful books about the anxiety that both parents and kids may feel before the first day of school, or when they are separated by other new experiences. One of my all-time favourites is "The Kissing Hand" by Audrey Penn. In "The Kissing Hand", Chester the Raccoon is afraid of starting school, and does not want to go. His mom shares with him a secret to help him through the day. After kissing his palm, she says:
"whenever you feel lonely and need a little love from home, just press your hand to your cheek and think, 'Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you.' And that very kiss will jump to your face and fill you with toasty warm thoughts."
The beginning of school can be tough on both kids and parents. Reading books about the day and roll playing what will happen are great ways to ease fears and prepare for new experiences. Reminders from home help too. I remember my own fears about starting at a new school, and how my mom would always tuck a special note, cartoon, or picture into my lunchbox to cheer me up and remind me of home. I loved my mom's lunchbox notes, and even when I was in university, she continued to send me little notes, magazine articles, and other interesting tidbits in the mail. It was a tangible reminder of her love.
My nephew is 2 years old, and we are close. A few days ago he asked his mom to call me. He was crying because he missed me. Inspired by my mom's lunchbox notes and "The Kissing Hand" book, I made this quick and easy craft to remind him that even when we are apart, I love him. It would be a perfect note to tuck into a lunchbox. You could even have your child trace his or her own hand, and turn it into a card to send to Grandma or Grandpa on Grandparent's Day.
Just like in the story, there is a kiss, in this case a Hershey's Kiss, on my hand. I started by tracing my own hand onto construction paper and cutting it out:
I then wrote a simple note to him, and placed a heart sticker on the palm (so that there will still be evidence of the kiss even after it has been eaten):
Next I used a repositionable sticky dot to attach the Hershey's Kiss:
Finally, since my little guy can't read yet, but he does know sign language, I folded down the fingers on my handprint to form the sign for "I love you". Teach your toddler or preschooler this sign, and you can send an "I love you" message to them too:
How did your first day of school go? Does your family have any traditions to make the transition easier?