For both parents and children, starting preschool is a monumental milestone that can come with a serious case of anxiety. Children may experience separation anxiety. And parents may find themselves anxious because they are worried their child will suffer from separation anxiety. This circle of nerves can feed off itself and create a lot of stress when there should be joy, learning, fun and good memories happening. And while there will always be anxiety in life – always – there are some things that you can do to make the transition to preschool easier.
Many parents are often more nervous than their children are about starting preschool! This is natural though. Being adults, parents have developed an ability to second guess, regret and generally beat themselves up for any perceived parenting misstep. This is only exacerbated when you have to leave your sobbing little one in the hands of someone you may not know very well. Follow these tips to give yourself at least a little comfort and transition with your child into preschool life!
Tip 1. Get to Know the Staff and the Child Care Center Safety Policies
Most anxiety is the result of the absence of knowledge. This is why it is so important to get to know who is going to be taking care of your children. Make sure you thoroughly research the child care facility your child will be attending. Get to know the staff and ask about their history and training. Most childcare professionals are naturally approachable and would be happy to open up to you. If not, this could be a sign that the childcare facility is subpar.
Ask about the safety and security policies of the childcare center and ensure that they meet state and local safety requirements. To alleviate your anxiety about safety even more, choose a child care center with an accreditation.
Tip 2. Don’t make goodbye too long.
This one can be really hard, especially if your little one is upset and bawling as you try to leave on the first day. Your natural instinct is to comfort them. Definitely do this, but don’t drag it out too long. Most children who have fits of tears snap out of it when their parents actually leave. If you stick around too long, you are reinforcing the idea that separation anxiety will only be alleviated by your presence, when the opposite should be the case. And a good childcare provider knows exactly how to get children to calm down by directing their attention to something else.
Tip 3. Arrange Play date with the other Children in Your Class.
This tip is great for both parent and child. For parents, arranged play dates give them the opportunity to get to know one another as their children play. Often, the bonding that takes place between parents as they share the first preschool year with one another helps reduce the stress and worry it can involve.
Arrange a play date for your child and you can swap stories and concerns with other parents and get their feedback on your anxieties and apprehensions. Who knows? You may even make a lifelong friend.
For children, the play date exposes them to new children from their class and makes the first day a little more familiar because they already have a buddy –or even a group of buddies- in the class now. This can cut down on the possible tear storm mentioned above.
Tip 4. Take Some Time for Yourself
Sometimes the first day of preschool is the first chance in a while parents find themselves free enough to actually do something for – imagine this – themselves. There is no one to take care of. No crying, no noise, no restrictions on where you can and can’t go. Use this time to relax, take a walk, get some lunch with friends, and start reading that book you have been looking at for a year. Taking some time for yourself will help relieve the stress that comes along with a transition like starting preschool.
Starting Preschool at ABC Academy Jackson
At ABC Academy Jackson, we understand that butterflies come along on the first day for both you and your child. Our nurturing and gentle staff will be there to help your little one transition to their first classroom and offer you reassuring feedback. With ABC Academy Jackson, you can rest assured that your child is in the most qualified and caring hands. ABC Academy Jackson has earned the NAEYC seal of accreditation and all our childcare professionals undergo continuous training and background checks. Come check out our programs and contact us today!