By Mariel Uyquiengco
Any change in a person’s life brings about a certain amount of anxiety or distress. This can be no less true for children, whose lives are full of milestones and “firsts” in rapid succession. One of the events that parents look forward to is the day that their child goes to preschool. However, parents are also filled with trepidation, as they know that there might be episodes of crying before entering the school grounds.
Here are some tips from mom-of-two Jennyfer Ang-Tan, a work-at-home Virtual Assistant (VA) and Wordress Migration Consultant, on how you can help your child overcome separation anxiety and embrace life in preschool.
Read books about going to school
One of the best ways to prepare a child in adjusting to preschool is to read books related to the upcoming experience. Jennyfer read picture books about going to school, sharing, and making friends, before her daughter started preschool. Talking about what school is and what children do there gives kids an idea of what to expect and makes the experience seem less threatening.
Visit the school grounds
Some children take a long time to be comfortable in new surroundings. To avoid crying before preschool, plan to make a short visit on the school grounds to familiarize your child with her future surroundings. Let your child run around the playground so that she can associate school with fun. It would be great if your child can get to play with some of the students in the school, to help her feel that she belongs once she officially starts.
Ask for a trial class
A preschool environment, no matter how progressive, is still different from home and has its own routines and expectations. Preschools usually welcome students for a trial period, to help them adjust and hopefully choose to go back. A trial gives your child a concrete experience of being in school, without any financial risk on your part.
Introduce your child to her teacher
When you visit the school, take the opportunity to introduce your child to her teacher to help in adjusting to preschool. This will allow the two of them to “break the ice” and give your child a welcoming face during her first few days in school. You can also ask the teacher during this time about routines and activities done in class, so that you can introduce some of the ideas to your child in the comfort of your home.
Make goodbyes quick
During the first few days of school, some children will be really clingy to their parents. If your child seems to suffer from separation anxiety, a quick goodbye ritual will be most helpful to her. Lingering and looking sad as you bring her to school will just make her feel that you’re leaving her in sad and “bad” place… because why else would you be sad?
Some crying before preschool can be expected. Parents just need to be supportive of their children in the best way possible to make the transition easier for the whole family.
Mariel Uyquiengco hopes to inspire parents to be their children’s first and best teacher. She does this through her blog and online children’s book shop www.thelearningbasket.com and by giving parenting seminars about early childhood development, preschool homeschool, and raising children to be readers.