To start preschool is a big milestone not only for the children, but also for the new parents as well. It is a milestone full of different emotions that can bring stress, anxiety, worries, but it will be a stage in life full of happiness and proudness.
Children can be full of anxiety right before starting preschool. They really do not know what to expect. The first few years of their life they spend learning house rules and family’s behaviors, and now they will need to surround themselves around new people without knowing what to expect.
Parents can experience the same level of anxiety. Although most of the time is spent worrying, not only for the safety of their child, but also worrying about making their child feel abandoned.
Many parents will see their child having a “bad” first day of school, or several days, and their first reaction will be to pull the child out of the school, but that is one of the worst ideas that you can come across. “It denies the child an opportunity to learn how to work through negative feelings and sets a precedent of not having to face problems” Green says. It is very important to be consistent when it comes to making preschool a part of your child’s routine. Going on a regular basis, provides a sense of security to your child.
The first thing that parents need to be aware is to not let your child pick up on your mood. Projecting happy confidence during drop-off could make your child feel better about staying behind. No matter what, do not let your child know you are feeling sad or concerned about dropping her/him at daycare.
It is important to make this transition as smooth and quickly as possible. Be positive about the experience your child will embrace at the daycare during the day. The same way, when you come to pick them up at the end of the day, reinforce the positive of the day and the fact that you came back, just the way you said you will.
Remember that it is normal for your young child to go backwards, or regress, in some of his behaviors. At this stage, children may talk but they are not able yet to fully express what they are feeling. It is normal for them to become a little aggressive, to withdraw or even move backward in other areas, for example, if they are fully potty trained they may start having potty accidents. All of these behaviors are natural and common, just remember that the key is to be consistent and positive through this transition.
Transition to the new routine can take from 2 to 4 weeks, and it depends only on your child. Do not compare them with other children. Remember they are individual and they develop at their own time. Be patient, it is only a stage, soon to be a memory. Enjoy every minute of this new adventure since it will go faster than you ever imagine.