Getting your toddler go to a preschool without throwing a fit can be the most painful experience any parent would have to go through. The ‘settling period' as they call it can seem the most unsettling for the child and the parent, and understandably so! Wailing kids clinging to anxious parents battling their own emotions, can be heart breaking. Parents come this close to buckling to their children's pleas and taking them home or letting them bunk one day at preschool. What happens with one day of absence right? Well, a lot! Preschoolers crave routine and once they realise that the parent is also not confident of leaving them alone, be rest assured the bouts of screaming, crying and pleading won't end. So, how does a parent deal with this? Listed are some effective tips that prominent preschool educationists recommend
Tips to prepare your kid for first school:
1. Establish a routine – while it can be difficult to remain firm when your young tot is pleading and screaming hysterically, ensure you take your child to the preschool every day. Unless of course the child is ill. Preschoolers work best with a set routine and after a few days or weeks of throwing tantrums, they will soon understand that mommy or daddy will come back to get them. Mention before-hand that there will be good teachers and children that the child can trust and play with at school. If you are a stay-at-home parent, months before the preschool begins, start leaving the child for a couple of minutes and then some hours with some trusted relatives. Read to him/her stories about going to school, the school bus, get a blackboard and notebooks to scribble around – to get them excited. After school, get home and encourage them to speak about their experiences. They might clam up or start crying again but try and introduce stories or rhymes, share your experiences or of an older siblings and make it seem as an important task – like daddy/mommy going to office or doing chores.
2. Parting time – Don't linger around to check if your child is doing well and keep turning around with sorry eyes. Appear confident (even if you are an emotional wreck inside) and tell them that they will be treated well and that the teacher loves them. Remember, children are quick to pick up cues. Any nervousness on your part will be baited to let them skip school. Invent a fun move before parting quickly to cheer your child while reassuring that you love him/her and will look forward to playing with him/her once you get home. If your child responds better to a particular parent or relative see if that person could drop her off for the initial days or weeks. It is important to maintain a quick goodbye routine and then leave.
3. Be sure – Do enough research on the preschool processes including feeding, hygiene, trained teachers, security, management apart from the curriculum. Once you have done your homework and are confident of the preschool, the most important step of establishing the trust will be bridged. Before enrolling your child check the settling period policy of your preschool. There are quite a few renowned preschools following international benchmarks to help the child transit better.
4. Be punctual – While it is natural to lose track of time when you have a few uninterrupted hours to yourself, ensure you are on time to pick up your child. It will go a long way in enabling your child develop his trust in you and the teachers.
5. Get a grip – Most often it is the parents that are more unsettled than their child. While it is unnerving to not know if your ‘stubborn' child is breathless from screaming out aloud or your ‘shy' tot won't express himself, believe in your decision and your child. Preschool teachers are trained to handle this separation anxiety. Give your child ample attention once they are back from preschool. It might help to bribe them a little with extra attention or a small candy or take them for a stroll in the park as a treat for behaving so well and being good. Have regular communication with the teacher to understand your child's progress and ask them how you could be of help to alleviate your child's separation anxiety.