Beginning preschool is a huge milestone for any parent; your child is starting her learning journey at school, which is a huge step in her social and developmental growth. However, for parents and children alike, making the leap to preschool can be an emotional adjustment. Here are 5 simple strategies to ease the process:
- Don't Rush. No one wants to feel like he's something to get rid of — especially your toddler! Be calm, loving, and reassuring when you drop your little one off in the morning. On the flipside, let him say his own good-byes and finish up his day when pick-up time comes so he doesn't get cranky and/or defiant. After all, his time is important too.
- Send a "Lovey." Letting your toddler bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or toy will help her adjust to a strange situation (check the center's rules to make sure it's allowed).
- Team Up with the Teacher. Show your toddler you like and trust the teacher — he will pick up on your positive attitude. Also, let the teacher know what makes your child happy and upset and the best ways you've found to remedy tears and crabbiness. Leave a list of his likes and dislikes for the teacher.
- Furnish Family Photos. Give your child (or the teacher) one of those plastic photo albums filled with familiar scenes and family members. When she feels lonely or misses mom, she can leaf through the album and connect through photos.
- Make a Together-Time Ritual. So your child doesn't feel like daycare equals the start of less time with you, create a special new activity or carve out a particular time to spend quietly together. Even if it's just 15 minutes sharing a book, it will be a comforting ritual for her.