The first day of preschool is a huge milestone that is often anticipated with lots of excitement and joy! It is also anticipated with lots of tears and uncertainty—from both kids and parents! To help ease any fears that your child (or you!) may have follow these 7 tips.
1. Be consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to making preschool a part of your child’s routine. Going together on a regular basis will provide your child with a sense of anticipation. Keep your goodbye short and sweet so your child will know what to expect. When you pick your child up at the end of the day, reinforce the idea that you came back, just like you said you would. This will help each day’s drop-off be less upsetting.
2. Get the Teacher Involved
Your preschool teacher is just as excited about the first day as your child is! Give the teacher any information they may need then allow them to help you with your goodbye. They are here to comfort you child as well as teach them.
3. Prepare a Comfort object
Does your child have a special object that comforts them? Bring it with you! This will help your child during the first few days of preschool adjust to being in a new place. Children almost always outgrow the need to bring a comfort object to school, so let them have it while they need it.
4. Don’t Sneak Away
Although it might be tempting to just leave while your child is distracted…DON’T! This can cause your child to feel more afraid if you suddenly disappear. Instead, try give your child a hug, say your I love yous , and remind them you will be back later to pick them up.
5. Avoid Comparing Your Child to Others
Don’t tell your child “So & So doesn’t cry when their mom leaves.” Honor your child’s process the best way possible to help make the transition into preschool as easy as possible. Don’t worry! Your child will eventually outgrow their separation anxiety.
6. Resist Surprise Visits
Once you’ve left your child, resist the temptation to go back and check on them. It is extremely helpful for parents to develop a team approach with the child’s teacher. This way the parents can feel safe and confident that their child is well cared for.
7. Give Yourself a Pep talk
Come up with a mantra of some kind to remind you of why you picked this preschool. Then keep repeating it as often as you need it! The first day of preschool is often just as hard (if not harder) on the parents but remember kids can pick up on your mood. If you’re nervous and anxious when you drop off your child, they will likely take on your attitude. Remain calm and be upbeat but if your child does pick up on your worries, just remind them you will always return to get them and they are safe and loved at school.