Starting a new preschool or daycare is an exciting time in your little one’s development! And it can also be a little scary. As noted by Fabiola Barrios, M. Ed., and Program Coordinator at Calgary’s Seedlings Early Learning: “Often the adaptation process in the preschool years brings a bit of separation anxiety for young children and parents. Conquering this first step in the social life of our children is relevant. We are teaching them to create meaningful relationships and trust other adults in their lives.”
How can you best help your child prepare for this change, and feel supported in this normal developmental stage?
Choosing a preschool or daycare that provides nurturing teachers and care providers, and a loving atmosphere plays a substantial role in ensuring your child will feel comfortable in the transition and beyond.
Talking about the adjustment with your child will give your child the words to explain the change as well as their feelings. Demonstrating calmness not only provides your child with a model approach, but will help them naturally to regulate their own feelings.
Developing a good-bye ritual provides stability and security, particularly one that allows you to connect with your child while you are apart, such as tying on an imaginary bracelet around your wrist and your child’s wrist to ‘hold you together’ while you’re apart.
Making the good-bye short and sweet helps your child turn their attention to their classroom. It’s very common for children to calm down quite quickly once their attention is focused on their classroom friends, activities, and teacher.
Keeping an open line of communication with the teacher also allows the teacher to make suggestions to best support your child, as well as ensuring a synchronized approach from both home and school.
Finally, there’s something to be said for the time-honoured approach – a consistent bedtime each night provides a daily rhythm, and helps everyone feel rested and ready to take on the world in the morning.
Seedlings Early Learning is passionate about providing a nurturing, fun and rich environment to help each child meet their potential. seedlingspreschool.ca