How can you help your child adjust to a preschool?
First few weeks of preschool are often marked by crying faces, whether it be the parents or children. It is a new experience and can be troublesome for the first few days.
Sending your child off to preschool might be their (and your!) first experience away for an extended period of time. It is natural for the child to feel anxious without the parent by their side. In early childhood, clinging and tantrums are healthy reactions to separation. But if these emotions persist for weeks, the intensity might worsen or reoccur during primary school or beyond. Here are some ways to help your child adjust to preschool:
A child requires some time to fully adapt to the new nature and demands of the environment of the preschool. This depends on many factors but the assurance and patience of the parents can make this adjustment go smoothly.
To assure your child, you need to be sure yourself. Children can be very perceptive if they notice you hesitating or worried. They will assume that it is because you are leaving them alone at a scary place. Make a prompt departure.
Form a routine
Consistency is key, forming a routine will help them deal with the stress of you leaving them in preschool. Half the fear stems from being in an unfamiliar environment, in a situation they haven’t faced before.
Giving assurance is a comfort because then they’ll know you will come back. Make promises of being back soon and keep them up. Ensure that you, don’t be late for picking them up!
Prepare for saying goodbye
Instead of letting the first day be their first experience away from you, practice leaving your child with a guardian for short periods. Gradually increase the duration at a pace that is comfortable for your child and doesn’t make them anxious.
Establish saying a goodbye, maybe a hug or a handshake that distracts them and develop positive feelings towards it. A predictable goodbye routine will let them know that you are going away but will be back soon, and this will help them a lot in future time to be apart.
Meet the teacher
Introduce your child to the teacher and endorse them, showing your child that you trust the teacher to take care of them. Before starting school, you can even take them to the grounds and let them get familiarised with the new space. This way it won’t be as daunting and new to them when it’s time to actually go there.
The best way to help them adjust would be to ask them how they’re finding it. If your child is unusually reluctant to go, ask them if they’ve made friends and what they do at preschool. Talk to the teacher and make note of any concerns they might have.
Your child may be shy or find it hard to blend; in that case, you can let the teacher know so that they can give your child a push in the right direction and help them get involved in-class activities. Let your child know that you are on their side and they can come to you with any problem. An after school ritual or dinner time discussion of your days would also benefit the family.
A piece of home
It can be hard to let go, experts suggest letting your children carry something from home that grounds them. A toy or photograph would bring them comfort, you can even send them notes of encouragement or affection in their lunch box or sneak it into their pencil cases.
The important thing is to let your child know that you love them and are thinking of them, just like they are missing you, you are also missing your child. Just check the teacher’s policies regarding these, as you can’t have them fighting with their friends over their keep sake or disrupting the class.
A preschool provides an organised and systematic environment for the blooming of your child’s intellectual and social abilities. Don’t allow them to be so preoccupied with the idea of coming back home that they don’t follow what happens in class and what homework is to be done.
This might be a new part of life for your child but making them finish homework before playtime or watching TV as part of their routine early on, will help them later. While they are disciplined at school, the same must be practised throughout the day. This can mean revising what they learned at school, in the home environment as well, this will make their learning process holistic, even if it just means finger painting with your child or saying please and thank you, etc.
1. Preschool is a new experience for a child and this can make them anxious.
2. Help them get familiarised with the school or the teacher in charge in advance.
3. Make a prompt exit, do not hesitate or give your child reason to worry.
4. Let them take a toy to preschool with them so that they feel comforted.
5. Help them with homework or ask them what they learned every day.