Transitioning your Child into School
Starting preschool can be nerve wracking for both the little ones and their parents. It is common for both parties to feel a bit of separation anxiety, but there are ways to make this transition easier and a positive experience. Here are a few tips we’ve picked up along the years at IBA’s preschool which you can do in preparation and also on the actual day.
- Create Excitement: Start building buzz around their first day of school by celebrating little moments like buying their backpack, or picking out their favorite lunch box. Make getting their school supplies a fun event, so that they start anticipating when they’ll actually get to use everything.
- Visit the school: Take your child to visit their preschool before they formally attend so that they are acquainted and not surprised by their surroundings on their first day. You can also use this opportunity to meet the teachers and see how your child interacts in their new environment.
- Read books about the topic: There are several great children’s books that talk about first day nerves, or goodbyes which are perfect to read before they make this big step. Here are some recommendations from Scholastic:
- Be consistent: When the actual day comes it’s important to keep a consistent routine. Once you say goodbye to your child and make sure they’re alright, it’s best that you leave, without pulling them out of the classroom. You can make up a fun way to say goodbye, which you do every time and lets your child know that although you are leaving you will be coming back. Surprise visits are not such a good idea as it skews their routine and doesn’t let them focus on building comfortable and new habits in this new stage.
- Trust preschool staff: It can be hard to leave your child if they seem upset, but preschool teachers and staff have a lot of experience and know how to handle the situation. Trust them to do what’s in your child’s best interest, and of course call to check in whenever you feel the need to.
- Communicate with the teachers: It’s also very helpful for teachers to know about your child’s individual habits or quirks. Let them know if they have a special way of calming down, or if they have a favorite song or dance that can help them feel more at home.
- Bring a “comfort object:” If your child has a particular object they want to bring, it’s perfectly fine for them to have a connection to their home. Whether it is a blankie, a stuffed animal, or anything else that they feel attachment to, bringing it with them to preschool can alleviate a lot of the separation anxiety they might feel.
- Be positive: Although leaving your child for the first time can be very hard, not just on them, but on you; show them that this is a positive thing in their lives, and nothing to worry about. Smile and tell them you’ll see them back again in no time.