Some kids thrive on a consistent schedule, but may show a negative response to change. Preschool can be that change that can worry a lot of kids, and ultimately you, the parent.
Thankfully, kids can be easily assured that going to school is great and exciting. Here’s how to make that happen:
Talk about preschool in a positive way.
Talking about preschool in a postive way to your child can help her have a positive attitude about school, according to Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum who wrote “Practice Wisdom for Parents.” Keep the conversations light-hearted and focused on what your child will experience. Chat about things the school will offer that’s most appealing to your child such as story time or the opportunity to use watercolor paints. You can help your child associate preschool as a positive place and not a scary one.
Take your child to school to meet the teacher.
Your child may feel anxious about going to a strange place and not knowing a single person. You can [help with this by taking her to meet her teacher.] Ask the teacher if the school offers a class gathering that takes place before preschool starts. Your child can have the opportunity to meet other kids in her class so she can see that school isn’t so scary after all.
Practice spending time apart by taking your preschooler to a friend or family member’s house.
Allow enough time for your child to adjust to spending time with other adults and children. During the summer, plan days where you’ll drop off and pick up your child at another person’s house so she can learn to be separated from you for short periods of time. Have the friend or family member read a book or draw with your child so she grows accustomed to doing activities with someone else.
Establish routines early on with your child.
Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum encourage practicing good morning and night-time routines before the first day of preschool. Have your preschooler get into the habit of storing her school things and working on any school-related activities in certain areas of the house. Several weeks prior to school, have your child accustomed to going to bed and waking up at set times. The PBS Parents website suggests waking up your child in the morning 15 minutes early and getting her in bed at night 15 minutes early until she is on a good schedule.
Empower your child by giving her some control
Your child should be more willing to cooperate if you allow her to make some of the decisions, according to PBS Parents. Let her choose her own backpack or pencil box when shopping for school supplies. Give her two choices of outfits to wear to school and let her decide. Your child will feel confident and more in control if she has a say.
Schulman, N., & Birnbaum, E. EASING SEPARATION ANXIETY FOR YOUR PRESCHOOLER: Do's and Don'ts for Back to School. Retrieved August 17, 2014, from practicalwisdomforparents.com
Before School Starts. (n.d.). Retrieved from pbs.org
Helping Your Child Make Successful Transitions: Home to School. (n.d.). Retrieved from education.ohio.gov