Taking the next step of starting preschool can be a nerve-wracking time for both you and your child. Because this is a critical time of child development and a change that can have lasting effects and benefits, you want to make sure you have set both you and your child up for adding as much positivity to this new stage as possible for both of you. Here are five ways to prepare for your child’s first day of preschool.
1. Create Familiar Faces
Familiarity combats the fear of the unknown. Try to set up opportunities for your child to become familiar with the faces they will see in their new classroom environment prior to beginning class. See if you can have your child meet their teacher. Then get your hands on a class list and try to connect with other parents to make play dates with them.
2. Bring a Comfort Item
If your child has a favorite item (like a blanket or stuffed animal) that serves as emotional security, bring it! This will help ease the separation anxiety because of the familiar and emotional connections your child has with that item. This also encourages your child’s own self-soothing strategies that can be beneficial later on.
3. Anticipate Tears
Goodbyes are hard, but you can use the time when you drop off your child as an opportunity to teach them that the separation is okay. Expect there to be a lot of tears but do your best to keep the goodbye short and sweet. Be calm, let your child know that you will be back and how excited you are for when that reunion comes! Then, leave and cry in your car if you need to. Hey, this is hard for you too!
4. Have Consistent Conversations
You will want to engage in open communication with your child. At the end of each school day, ask them questions about their day and build up the excitement for the next time they go. With consistency, your child will come to expect exciting conversations with you each time you pick them up.
5. Have a Positive Attitude
You set the tone for how you and your child handle this transition. First and foremost, trust yourself. You aren’t going to ruin your child’s life if you skipped one tip or missed them all completely from all the research you’ve done. It is a process. All in all, it is about adding positivity to the experience!