The first day of Preschool can be a big milestone. For both kids AND for parents. It is often anticipated with great excitement and joy, but also with lots of crying and uncertainty. Separation anxiety can rear its ugly head at any time during your little one's preschool experience, but making the first day a good day helps set the tone for the school year to come. This is a totally normal part of their development and will pass – in time. Meanwhile, here are some tips and tricks to make the transition as smooth as possible:
Always Say Good-Bye. Much of the anxiety felt by kids is that they fear they will be left alone in an unfamiliar place. Sneaking away when they are distracted will reinforce these fears and make the next time more difficult. Always say your goodbyes, even if they are crying; and chances are they will be busy playing with new friends in no time.
Don’t compare your child to others: Every child is different and reacts to situations a little differently. Pointing out that Johnny or Susie aren’t crying won’t help your child to feel any better. Allow them to process their feelings as they need to and the level of anxiety will slowly decrease.
Talk about It: Chances are you’ve been doing this already. Talk to you child to prepare them for a big change in their routine. The more excited you seem about this new adventure, the more excited they will be! If you’re not sure where to start, there are also many books about the first day of school you can read with your littles ones to get you both prepared.
Give them some control: Children have very little control in their daily lives. Some thing as small as which shoes to wear, or the snack you pack or what’s for breakfast (within reason). What may not seem like a big deal to you can go a long way in making them feel empowered and confident to get through the day on their own.
Routines are important and they take time: Among the chaos that is being a child, they actually crave and thrive in routine. Having a set routine for getting ready for school can have a great effect on them getting mentally prepared for the day. Trial and error is bound to happen so adjust as you need until you get it down. Same for the classroom. If your child doesn’t seem to be enjoying school, give it some time so they can adjust to the new routine.