The time is fast approaching, the day when you drop off your precious little one for their first day at “school”. In reality you will probably be more nervous than your toddler, but to ease the transition into being apart it’s always a good idea to prepare so that on their first day they’re excited and ready to have fun!
Your child will experience a range of emotions from being proud to be a big kid but also worried about saying goodbye to you. But remember there’s a lot you can do to prepare for the big day, make sure you do it in a low key manner so as not to make them more worried than excited.
Here are four things to focus on to make the milestone fun!
- Begin by reading stories that features a preschool or typical preschool activities. It would also be a good idea if the story also broaches the subject of separation. Get involved in the story pointing at the characters and asking your child how they might be feeling. Ask them what activities they would like to do most if they were there, keep the emphasis on fun!
- Role play! Take terms playing the roles of teacher, mum and kid even going as far as to acting out saying goodbye to you and hello to the teacher, this may entail you taking the lead and playing the child. Ask them what they think they will be doing at school and then…..DO IT!
- By now they should be more comfortable with the situation and, dare I say, even excited. At this time pay a visit to the school, let them see how fun things are going to be. You know the teachers will make a big fuss of them and when they see all the activities and toys available, well, they’ll be pleading with you to let them start tomorrow!
- Finally answer all their questions…even the difficult ones. Being honest with your child is a necessity in their emotional upbringing. The most common question to expect will be “will you be leaving me there?”, simply respond, “yes for a little time, but I will be back to get you at lunchtime”.
On the day simply stay, play then say goodbye. Hang around for about 15 minutes, find an activity that he enjoys and introduce him to other children. Once he’s becoming involved it’s time to go. Let the teacher know your leaving as it’s often easier with another caring adult offering support as you depart.
IMPORTANT! Stay positive, your child will be watching your reaction for clues on how they should feel, so don’t appear worried or upset, just say a quick upbeat goodbye, reminding him you will be back to collect them at lunchtime and off you go!
Even if your child is distressed, remember they are in the hands of trained preschool professionals who know how to cope with these situations, so don’t go back in as the distress will only be prolonged, and if you are worried you can always call to check on how they’re doing.