There is something slightly intimidating about starting something new. New experiences and faces can be intimidating to even the most socially adept of us – even as adults. So imagine how your little one must feel when you want them to open up their whole world to all new people, places and experiences – all at once. It’s understandable that a majority of preschoolers balk at the expectations we have for them in regards to starting any type of day care program. In order to help ease them into the unexpected, take the time to properly prepare them for their new venture. These steps should help to make for an easier transition into preschool:
- Meet the teacher – Whenever possible, allow your little one to become acquainted with their teacher and the supporting staff. Attend open houses and allow your child to play on the playground and familiarize themselves with the various settings – both indoor and out.
- Ease them into it – Schedule play dates with other children that attend the same school and take short breaks where your child begins to get used to you not being around.
- Be a good example – Get to know the teacher, staff and other parents and try to establish positive relationships. Allow your child to see, first-hand, that new people and experiences are a positive of preschool and nothing to be scared of.
- Get him/her involved – If your child will be staying all day at child care, include him/her in the rituals of getting ready for the day. Enlist their help with packing their lunch or backpack, allowing them to choose their blankie and their favorite snack to take along. Let their morning rituals become an exciting part of their day instead of a chore.
- Communicate – Let him/her know that it’s perfectly ok to be a little worried about their first day and experiences and encourage open dialogue. Don’t dismiss or diminish their fears – they are very real to them. Just let them know that an adult is there to help and if they have any questions just ask.
- Be excited for her – If she believes that you believe day care is fun, she’ll be that much more eager to start. Smile, clap and encourage good feelings in the morning and when you pick her up.