Welcome back to a New Year!! So the Christmas holidays are over and, if you have little ones in the house you may be thinking it is time to look at preparing them for preschool. With the prospect looming are you nervous? Is your child nervous? They don’t know what to expect and the fear of the unknown will start to creep in so here are a few tips to help make this not only a stress free day but, yes, an enjoyable, experience if you can!
Before the First Day
You’ve picked a preschool and you are getting ready for the big day. Beforehand make sure you talk to your child about their new adventure. In the week or two before they start try to encourage them to be more independent with things like dressing, going to the toilet and washing their hands.
If you know other pre-school children spend a little time with them. Visit the preschool and introduce your child to their teachers and show them the environment.
Talk to your child and let them be involved in the preparations. Show them you are labelling their clothes and items, talk to them about the day and what will happen. If they need to take food or drink, talk with them about what they would like to take. Make sure your child is aware that you will not be staying with them and that they do understand this. Let them know this is time for them to meet lots of great new friends.
On the Day
Get up nice and early. If you need to leave quite early perhaps have some of your things out ready the night before otherwise spend time getting ready and talking about the great new adventure. Make sure you have a positive environment. Don’t rush through your morning routine.
Head off early and arrive in plenty of time. Make sure you are not showing any signs of anxiety and act as if it is an adventure for you. Bring along a comfort object if this will make your child feel secure.
Hang around but don’t hover over your child. Let them know you are there but try to encourage them to start an activity with the teacher or in a small group. If you can stay for part of the first 2-3 times so your child knows you are there for security but will be able to start exploring and building their courage.
When it is time to leave give your child a big hug and smile, let them know when you’ll be back but don’t then linger and don’t sneak out while your child is distracted.
Be consistent in your actions so you don’t confuse your child with mixed messages.
Do remember that even if your child starts on the sobbing as you leave don’t be tempted to step back and start the process again. Chances are they will be fine within 2-3 minutes of you leaving and will have forgotten all about you.
Once you've left your child, resist the temptation to go back, and don't phone the school every hour.
When you do return reinforce to your child that you are back so they will know in the future that you are not abandoning them and you will be back!
After the first day is over prepare your child for the next one by getting a report on what they did, how much fun they had, and yes if there was anything they didn’t like.
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