Surviving The First Day: Tips From Preschool Providers
Summer is almost over, and with it comes the first day of preschool for many little children out there. Leaving your young child in the hands of teachers and preschool providers can be a very daunting idea, but the experience doesn’t have to be negative. We’ve compiled a little list to help you and your tot survive their first day of preschool, and even enjoy it.
It’s Okay for Both of You to Cry
It’s best to mentally prepare yourself for the waterworks that will, inevitably, come, rather than be side-lined by your child’s teary eyes on his or her first day. Pack some tissues; there will be snotty noses on both sides. Your child will most probably end up clinging to your leg, begging you not to leave him or her in this strange new environment. Even if your child is not the crying type, seeing other children balling their eyes out is usually enough to your little tyke off. As a parent, it’s always difficult to see your child upset. Although it’s okay to shed a few tears yourself, remember that if your child sees you feeling upset it will only upset him or her more. Try to keep your smile intact to show your child just how much fun preschool really is, then call up a friend and let the tears flow as soon as you step out the door.
Say Goodbye, Then Leave
When it’s finally time to say goodbye, do so. Don’t let give your child “five more minutes” and don’t linger around the door. Your preschooler cannot get on with his or her first day until you leave. Young children enjoy the comfort of routine, so try and establish a goodbye ritual that you can use throughout the rest of the year. That way your child will know that, “catch you later, alligator” means you’re leaving.
Although you must make a decisive exit at some point, do not quietly sneak out while your child is preoccupied. It may be tempting to avoid the meltdown that comes with your departure, but simply disappearing will make your child more anxious than he or she needs to be. Plus, it will make leaving tomorrow all the harder, as your child will try and prevent you from disappearing again.
Bring A Teddy
Prepare a comfort object for your child, such as a beloved teddy bear or favorite blanket. This way your child will have something from home to hold onto when he or she feels scared or lonely. A comfort object provides young children with a sense of safety and security in unfamiliar environments, and, once your child feels more secure, he or she will ditch the teddy.
Don’t Be Late
Plan ahead to make sure that either you, your partner, or a friend is able to pick you child up on time; even be a bit early! Even if your child had a good day, he or she will still be nervous and uneasy. Don’t let your preschooler believe that you’re never coming back – it will just make leaving tomorrow even harder. However, if disaster strikes and you are running late, let the school know. That way, a teacher or assistant will be able to spend time with your child and ensure that he or she doesn’t feel deserted or unsafe.
The first day of preschool will be hard on both of you, but remember: preschool providers and teachers know what they are doing. They have dealt tearful tots many times before, and even know how to comfort crying parents.