The best way to handle your child’s first day of Pre School

Going off to preschool or kindergarten is an important milestone for both you and your child. It may be her/his first step away from home or a transition to a new setting and friends. Even the return to a familiar program has its excitements, pleasures, and anxieties. At the 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old stages of development, "change" can bring a multitude of feelings and thoughts (here are language and literacy milestones to expect at this age). Some children accept and enjoy change more than others. But it's not unusual for even the most "experienced" child to need some extra attention during the first days and weeks of school.

Mentioned below are a few pointers that may help you as a Parent:

• The first step is to prepare yourself to leave your child at School.
• Have a fixed routine, Children need to have a consistent routine.
• To encourage their first day provide food & clothes of their choice.
• Meet the teacher.
• Talk about your memories.
• Don’t talk about the first day too far in advance.
• Mimic Preschool rules & routines.
• Have positive interactions.
• Don’t leave without saying Good bye.
• Going off to Pre School is an important milestone for both you and your child.

Tips can make the first day of Pre School (and days after) a more manageable experience for your child and or you.

1. Establish a new bed time

Weeks ahead a time, start getting into new routine so the night before School is a lot easier. Put them to bed earlier each evening in preparation for school bedtime. During the School year, Kids need to go to bed early in the evening, so they get enough rest. Kids who are well rested perform better in School.

2. Help your child prepare

Get your child involved in the preparation process too. It is always fun to go out shopping for a new notebook or a special pencil case. Having the right lunch box can make a child feel excited about the start of the year.

3. Meet the teacher

When you enter the School calmly introduce the teacher to your child, then step back to allow the teacher to begin forming a relationship with your child. Your endorsement of the teacher will show your child that he or she will be happy and safe in the teacher’s care.

4. Talk about your memories

Share your own school experiences with your child and try to focus on the positive and be optimistic. Talk about your favourite teacher, great friends you made or fun assignment you remember working on.

5. Don’t talk about the first day of Pre School too far in advance

Talking about the first day of Pre School to far in advance will only serve to build anxiety and confusion because your child is never going to know if the next day is the day. A week before school, explain to your child what they are going to do the following day. The night before school, routinely tell them what they are going to do the next day, just as you’ve been doing. This way, they have had the experience of hearing about the next day multiple times, so they can picture anticipate what’s to come.

6. Give them some control

Let your child pick out the backpack, help pack their lunch and put name labels on things. It will be exciting for them, it will give them more control in the preparation process.

7. Walk them through their day and add in something fun

If your child has questions about what the day will be like, walk them through it by giving a quick schedule. You can say something like: ‘In the morning you will have some free play, delicious snack time, playground time, lunch, nap & then I’ll see you’. Kids like knowing what their day will look like. Giving your child something fun to look forward to make their favourite dinner. “This will help give them some clarity on what the day will look like.”

8. Keep good bye short & sweet

Say a loving good bye to your child, but once you do, leave promptly. Don’t sneak out. As tempting as it may be, leaving without saying good bye can make kids feel abandoned. A long farewell, on the other hand might only reinforce a child’s sense that Pre School is a bad place. A consistent & predictable farewell routine can make leaving easier. Transitional objects a favourite toy can also help comfort a child. Also keep in mind that most kids do well after their parents leave. Even if the change is hard at first of your child, they will adjust pretty quickly.

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