Try to stay busy
Liderina/Shutterstock You know what your grandmother always said, “An idle mind is a dangerous thing.” If you have younger children, you may be able to more easily distract yourself by tending to their needs than a mom of an only child, but either way, you’ll still feel your babe’s absence. Dr. O’Leary says one of the most effective ways to maintain your sanity—and slowly release your control-freak tendencies!—is to keep yourself occupied. “The hardest way to pass time is to stare at the clock and wait until the school day is over. If you’re home, take on a project or plan to spend some time with a friend. If you’re at work, focus on the task at hand and try to avoid repeatedly checking your phone,” she says. Stuck for ideas? Here’s how to find a new hobby that you’ll love.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock First rule of parenting (that’s often the one that takes the longest time to learn)? Resist the reflex to judge other parents—and that includes yourself. If you’re not feeling super sad about your child going to kindergarten? Normal. If you are mildly freaking out? Also normal. Dr. O’Leary explains the more pressure you put yon yourself to mold into a specific bucket, the more stressful the transition will feel. “Every parent experiences the hallmarks of growing up differently. Accept your emotions and keep in mind there’s no single right way to step into the role of kindergarten mom,” she reminds.
Keep your expectations realistic
Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock Instead of watching your child pick out their very first backpack, you might be Googling studies about what Harvard grads were like in their first years of school. Repeat after us: stop it! One way to manage your own worries about your child starting kindergarten is to focus on the here-and-now feelings and avoid focusing on the future. Not only does doing so put unrealistic expectations on you and your child, but it dissolves the precious childhood experience. “Nobody gets an academic scholarship offer after kindergarten. Be careful not to make up stories about how your child will do based on their first year since a lot changes during this time, including you,” says Kevin Gilliland, Ph.D, psychologist and author.