Back-to-School time can be scary for any child, no matter how old they are, but it is especially hard for 3 and 4 year olds who are preparing for their first day of preschool. Many of my little preschool students have never been away from their parents and the separation anxiety those first several days can be heartbreaking for both the child and their parent! But here are some suggestions I offer to those parents whom ask:
“Whats the best way to prepare my child for preschool?”
Preparing your child for preschool can be done in 5 simple steps:
Lay out his clothes and backpack the night before and talk about the positive aspects of preschool- making new friends, playing fun games etc.This not only gives you more time to spend together, it also saves precious time in the morning, and it ends his day with positive thoughts about preschool instead of fear- maybe he will have sweet dreams about his class!
Encourage him to draw a picture of what he did at school or a fun thing he did at home and then let him take that picture to school and show his friends and teacher. This also opens communication for the 2 of you and gives him extra practice on preschool skills.
Kiss each other three times, do a special handshake etc. Remind your child that you will be back to pick him up and discuss your after-school plans to give him something to look forward to.
It is hard to leave your child when he is kicking and screaming or even looking a bit nervous, but the longer you wait around, the harder it will be for both of you. Make sure you do your “goodbye ritual” and then leave the tears for the teacher to handle. A teacher deals with crying kids every year- she is good at distracting your child while you slip out the door and can handle the kicking and screaming like a pro!
Talk about what’s on your child’s mind. Your positive comments and reassurance will be the comfort and encouragement he needs!
You’d think I could take my own advice- I am one of those parents that gets emotional the entire first 2 weeks of Kindergarten for my own kids. I never cry, but it is hard for me to watch my little ones walk away to class carrying a backpack bigger than themselves!
I’m curious to know: What advice do you have for moms prepping for preschool?