Preschool is a huge step for many young children, especially if they don’t have prior experience with daycare. It can be an exciting time, with so much fun and learning, but also a bit scary too. Fortunately, there are things you as a parent can do to help make this transition easier.
With a gentle introduction from you, children can walk through those preschool doors with confidence, and be prepared for an adventure.
Talk With Your Child
The first action you can take to help your child is to describe to them what going to preschool will be like. Let them know there will be friends to meet, and do a few activities like crafts, or songs that are fairly common for Preschool.
By listening to you describe preschool, and doing some fun activities, it will help your child see preschool as a fun time to look forward to, as well as easing any fears.
Another great way to help break the ice with your child is to visit the area. Your child will be able to see what the space they will be in looks like before they are suddenly thrust into it. Becoming familiar with the unknown is a great way to help them visualize what preschool will be like.
This is also a good time to meet the teacher and perhaps other classmates as well. Plan to visit a few times in advance so your child gets plenty of exposure to the new classroom before the big day.
The Big Day
On the day your child is to begin school, reintroduce your child to the teacher, and remind them they have met before. The first day can be difficult for both you and your child, but there are a few things you can do to help make it easier.
The first is to step back, and let your teacher have a chance to meet your child and interact for a few minutes. This gives them a chance to break the ice before you leave.
If your child is clingy and doesn’t want you to leave, don’t get upset with them. Be kind and gentle with your goodbye but leave promptly once you have let them know you are leaving.
As hard as it may be to see your child’s tear-streaked face, don’t be tempted to sneak out when your child is distracted. It may make things worse down the road. Make sure you have said goodbye and your child knows you are leaving before you go.
Children can react very differently on their first day of preschool. Some boldly step into the classroom without ever looking back, and some are afraid to let go of their parents. All of these reactions can be normal.
Preparing your child for preschool can help them focus better after you have left and turn it into a grand adventure for them. If you’re planning to send your child off to daycare in the upcoming weeks or months, now is a good time to start paving the road for their success.