by Janet Stevens
The first day of preschool can be traumatic for kids who feel that they are being ripped from their familiar surroundings and thrown into a brand new environment. Not only is the process difficult for the child, but parents can also experience major separation anxiety. The best way to avoid the shock of preschool is to prepare your child and yourself so you can both know what to expect.
One thing that is reiterated to preschoolers on a daily basis is the importance of sharing and learning to play and interact with the others. When your child is still young, it is a good idea to teach them to share before they ever go to preschool. When they are playing with their toys at home, say something like, "Ok, you had your turn playing with that toy, it's Mommy's turn. And after Mommy's turn, it will be Daddy's turn." Make it very clear that you are taking turns playing with the toy and they will become accustomed to the habit. Make sure that your child is allowed another turn to play with the toy, so they will understand that if they share, other kids will share with them. It would also be fun to set play dates with other children their age and have them play games, do crafts and have snack time. If you do this on a regular basis, your child will not think that preschool is much different than what they've been doing already. If you have these "practice" preschool session in different locations, your preschooler will not be as surprised when they go to their preschool location.
If you clearly communicate to your child what they will be doing at preschool, they will not be as surprised and they won't feel like you've abandoned them. Make sure they know that they will have teachers who will help them if they need anything, and communicate the fact that you will be returning to pick them up at the same time everyday. It might also be a good idea to read them children's books that talk about how fun preschool is.
Contact the preschool that your child will be attending and see if you can arrange a tour of the school with your child. This will let them see what they can expect, and they will feel more at ease meeting other kids that are having a fun time at preschool. You may even want to ask the teacher if it is ok for them to play a game with the other kids in the class. This will most likely make them very excited about the idea of preschool and they will be counting down the days until they are able to attend.
If you have been accustomed to having your child at home with you every day since they were born, you will probably be experiencing a degree of separation anxiety when your child's first day of preschool arrives. In order to ease the pain for you and your child, consider arranging "pretend preschool" days where you allow your child to spend several hours with a trusted friend or family member. This will help both you and your preschooler to realize that you can make it through the day without one another.
Keep in mind that preschool is a totally new experience for a young child, and even though the first few days might seem difficult, they will get used to their new schedule. When they start to adjust, don't make them feel bad for having fun at preschool. Just because they are interacting well with the other children, that doesn't mean they are replacing you. Allow your child to mature and make progress.
Janet Stevens is a writer for My Baby Bedding Shop and is the loving parent of two. Her children are all grown up now but she loves writing about children and giving tips on certain scenarios that parents are faced with along the way. Janet sure hopes that you have found this article helpful.
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