Putting your child in a preschool classroom is a big moment for any parent. You know that academic preschool programs are good for your child. You know that 75% of The children in the United States are in a preschool, and you don’t want your child to fall behind. You know preschool education has demonstrative benefits for your child in terms of academics, socialization, and preparation for further schooling. You know all the things to look for in a preschool, and you have just found the right one. How can you prepare your child for what they will experience in the preschool classroom?
Before You GoBefore you even enter the preschool classroom, know that your child is going to be experiencing some mixed emotions. You probably are, too! The preschool classroom will be filled with unfamiliar people, and this can cause young children both anxiety and excitement. Before you go, spend time each day talking with your child about the preschool. This gives him or her a chance to process feelings, and also gives you an idea of what concerns are most on your child’s mind. Gradually introduce your preschool child to some of the things that will happen when they go into the preschool classroom. For example, if you can find a particular type of educational toy your child’s teacher will be using, you can get the same toy for your child to start using at home. That way when they get to their preschool classroom they will find some comforting and familiar items. This helps reduce the number of new things that your child has to overcome. In some cases, not only can you tour a preschool, but you can also take your child there a few times before school starts. This gives your child a chance to meet the teacher, look around the preschool classroom, and basically become familiar with what they will experience on their first day.
That Big First Day
The first day is always the hardest, and your emotions and energy will have a tremendous effect on whether your child sees this day is it an exciting milestone or a fearful abandonment. Be calm, and don’t get between the teacher and your child. The faster your child comes to know and trust the teacher, the more quickly they will become comfortable in the preschool classroom. You also show trust in the teacher by not coming between them, and this signals to your child that they will be safe with this person. Should your child refuse to participate, don’t get upset. Say goodbye and then leave. Don’t sneak out, and never come back in response to screaming. Doing so will only embolden your child to believe that enough crying and screaming will always bring you back. Long, drawn out, and emotional farewells may reinforce to the child the idea that preschool is a bad place.
Establish a Ritual
Make the first day at preschool the first day that you to do something special with your child. This ritual reinforces that preschool is a good thing, that they still have a special relationship with you that has not changed, and gives your child something to look forward to. Your ritual could be a particular type of cool goodbye handshake. Some parents read a short book in the car before they part. It could be as simple as a funny face competition done in the last few moments before your child gets out of the car. Just remember that children love ritual and predictability. This makes them feel safe, so when all the swirling change of starting your new preschool classroom begins for your child, make sure that other things in life remain stable and routine.
Preschool is a milestone event for both you and your child. For many children, going to preschool will be the first time that they ever leave their parents for any significant amount of time. Preschool is a great way to put your young child on the path toward success. Just make sure that you start them out on that path in the best way possible.