The first day of preschool can be a big transition for both children and parents. If your child has never attended a daycare before, or if they are starting at a new preschool, the first day of school may be a stressful experience. A new environment, new faces, nerves, and separation anxiety are factors that can make this experience difficult. Luckily, there are many ways that parents can help ease the transition into preschool.
What You Can Do Before the First Day of Preschool:
- Familiarize your child with her new school environment. Make sure to visit your child’s classroom a couple of times before the first day of preschool to familiarize him with the new space.
- Introduce your child to her teacher beforehand to ease the nerves and increase her comfort level on the first day.
- If possible, make special efforts to connect with other new students in the weeks leading up to school, so your child can look forward to seeing his friends again on the first day.
- Make a plan with the teacher on the first day if you are concerned that saying goodbye will be a particularly hard time for her.
- Talk to your child and give him a specific run-down of what will happen on the first day, so that he can create a comforting mental movie.
What You Can Do When You Get There:
- Make the goodbyes go as smoothly as possible. Trying to sneak out isn’t the best idea, as it can pose the risk of your child losing her trust in you. Make sure you say a reassuring goodbye that you have practiced and made a routine.
- Ask the teacher if it is okay if your child brings something from home that he can keep in his cubby, such as a family photo, a stuffed animal, or a small blanket. This will come in handy if he needs extra comforting when you leave.
- Don’t linger around when you’re dropping her off. The longer you stay, the harder it gets to say goodbye.
- Show your child that you are comfortable leaving. You can do this by making a funny goodbye face, or waving from outside of the classroom window.
- Learn the other children’s names so that you make school feel like a familiar and safe place. For instance, you can tell your child, “Look, there’s some space at the sand table with Alex and Sadie.”
At Parker-Chase Preschool, we try hard to make our school as warm and welcoming as possible. Our teachers are well-trained to ease the first-day jitters, and know how to bond with each child to make sure those tears won’t last long (if they happen at all). Our nurturing staff is experienced in facilitating the formation of friendships between students to ensure that each child develops a sense of familiarity and fellowship beginning right from the first day of preschool.