If your child is starting preschool this fall, you may be approching this major milestone with conflicting emotions. You're probably excited about all the fun ( you hope) your child will have and new friends he/she will make. But you may feel a little sad that your baby is venturing out into the big world without you. These emotions are normal. Your child is also bound to have a range of reactions to this transition--feeling proud to be a big kid but at the same time worried about saying good-bye to you. There's a lot you can do in the weeks before to get ready for the big day. Try to keep your efforts low key. If you make too big a deal of this milestone, your child may end up being more worried than excited. Below are some ideas to keep the focus on fun.
Start by reading stories about preschool- Choose books that include typical preschool activities, as well as those that deal with seperation. Point to the pictures and ask your child how the diffrent characters might be feeling. Don't be surprized if your child wants to read these books over and over. This is how children process new ideas and work through feelings.
Answer your child's questions, even if they're difficult- It's important to respond honestly, in language she can understand. ("Yes, I will leave you for a little while, but I will come back to get you in a little bit.")
Mommy, don't go!- Some children-often those who are more cautious and slow to warm up to new situations-have a hard time with separation. The adjustment is sometimes more difficult for children who go to preschool two or three days a week instead of five days, since saying good-bye is not a daily ritual. There's no secret to this one. You just have to hang in there. If you are consistent, supportive and positive, your child will eventually adjust. Build extra time into your morning routine so you can spend a few minutes at school to help him get engaged as opposed to rushing off.
Ideas to get your child from home to school- Start an activity with your child that you finish later when she comes home, like reading a few pages of a book or starting to draw a picture together. This creates a tangible connection between "now" and "later" and gives her something to look forward to.
As your child sets out for her first day of preschool, remember that ups and downs are normal. But with time, she will not just adapt but will thrive, making friends and delighting in new discoveries. Before you know it, the problem won't be crying when you drop her off, it will be crying when you pick her up--because she's having so much fun and she doesn't want to leave.
LET YOUR CHILD WARM UP AT HER OWN PACE. SOME KIDS ARE READY TO JUMP RIGHT AWAY; OTHERS WANT TO TAKE IT SLOW.
EVEN IS YOUR CHILD IS CRYING WHEN YOU LEAVE, IT'S LIKELY HE'LL BECOME ENGAGED IN AN ACTIVITY ONCE YOU'VE GONE.
This information was taken from American Baby magazine August 2008 issue.