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  • One Mom Became a Dermatologist to Keep Herself From Worrying About First Day of School!

    Moms share best lessons how to be anxiety-free on your child's first day of school.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
One Mom Became a Dermatologist to Keep Herself From Worrying About First Day of School!
PHOTO BY @MaximFesenko/iStock
  • With June already here, anxiety and excitement shouldn’t be far behind, especially for moms who are sending their child to preschool for the very first time. Preparation for some has begun as early as a year prior, telling their child what a big independent boy or girl he/she has become and that, pretty soon, the milk bottle has got to go.

    “Will you win the weaning game?” Interestingly, this question applies both ways. Mother and child experience their own first-day blues triggered by separation anxieties but to get over it, you both have to go through it.

    Months before the big day, it helps to take care of the basics by making sure your child establishes a good eating and sleeping routine, so he has enough energy for the school days ahead. Make sure to talk to him and find out what things worry him about going to school. Is it new teachers? Is it meeting new friends? Is it spending the day without you by his side?

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    Address what you can while classes have not begun, and then address your own issues, too: Will other kids want to play with my child? Will he cry inside the classroom? How do I come up with exciting baon every single day? What if my child doesn’t want to go to school the next day?

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    How to plan an anxiety-free first day of school

    We’ve asked been-there-done-that moms the skills and lessons they’ve learned when they had to face the first day of school mostly with their firstborns and, yes, they agree there were as many lessons learned as there were worries that had to be unlearned. Good thing, they’ve had a lot of practice with their panganays, and this made it easier for them to deal with the same first-day’ issues with their next child.

    1. Make your child part of the weaning process.

    “My son was only 3 years and 5 months when he entered the nursery, and he had to stop feeding on his bottle abruptly. I talked with him straight to the point, and we simply agreed on the date he would fully stop drinking from his bottle. This approach helped as there was no power struggle from either me or him,” says Tet Lecaroz-Elizalde, mom to Sebastian who is now 11.

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    2. File a leave to meet and greet the teachers.

    “I took a leave for all my kids’ first day of class,” says Joy Liza Formoso, mom of three. “The first day of class is an opportunity for me to meet and greet their teachers personally. This is especially important when I had my third child, who [has] special [needs]. Apart from meeting her teachers, I would also say hello to her classmates. On other days, I would find the opportunity to get to know the guards, the assistant teachers, the Ates, and other school personnel who I know can help and guide my special child throughout the school year.”

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    3. Let go.

    “I realized I can’t do everything for my children,” says Zaza Limcangco, mom of 4. “As moms, we always have a tendency to hover around our kids and try to be there for them as much as possible. But once in school, they learn to do things on their own without our help, and that is an important aspect of their growth. All we can do now is hope that we have taught them enough. On hindsight, I think my boys were only too happy to be out of the house on the first day of preschool, so there wasn’t much of a struggle.”

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    4. Mix healthy with fun foods for baon…and make extra, just in case.

    “I don’t have an ‘exciting’ appetite, but I had to be creative with my son’s baon once he started preschool, making sure it’s healthy and fun at the same time. I usually combined a nice cheese sandwich with chocolate coated biscuits, which he loved,” shares Lecaroz-Elizalde.

    “I don’t know what it was with my son’s baon, but there was a kid who’d always get from his food. My son was quite bothered by it so to process how he felt without putting labels on feelings and behaviors, we did a role play with his character toys. We decided that I prepare more food so there’d be enough for both him and his classmate (smiley).”

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    5. Make a weekly recess and lunch menu.

    “The first day of the school put my organizational skills to the test. I was a mom of three boys (now, plus one girl) who were close in age, so my mornings were always crazy,” shares Limcangco. “So that day, when all three were finally going to school, I learned that organizing is key. I’d make a weekly recess and lunch menu, prep their clothes ahead of time so that all I had to do in the morning was pop their food in their lunch boxes and helped them put their uniforms on.

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    6. Channel anxiety towards something positive.

    “After my children’s first day of school, I realized I suddenly had too much time on my hands,” says Limcangco. “It was around that time when I started toying with the idea of going back to school — in my case finish my residency — to keep my mind off worrying whether they were doing okay or not. And voila, I’m now a dermatologist!”

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