While some kids and parents have no problem with the first day of preschool, for many tots and mamas, the first day of school marks the first degree of separation and can be a very emotional and difficult day. Here are some first-day-of-preschool tips to help you deal with your emotions, so that you can be a supportive and loving parent but not give in to the whimpers of your child.
Here's what you should do:
- Smile and stay positive. You might have expected tears from your kid, but if you find yourself on the verge of tears, try to breathe through them and wait until you have dropped your child off you go into a boo-hooing fit. It's important that your child senses that you are taking them to a fun, happy, and secure place. If you start crying, they will pick up on your emotions and will become worried, too. Smiling and showing excitement will help them sense that preschool will be fun.
- Listen to the teacher. It's tempting to do what you think is best for your kid, but preschool teachers have experience and a game plan for upset preschoolers. They will mostly likely tell you that it's best if you leave, even if your child is still crying. Within five minutes of play, a child will usually stop crying. However, if your child becomes unruly, the teacher will contact you.
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- Don't leave without a good-bye. Even if a child becomes distracted with another activity, he or she will be frightened if you leave without saying good-bye. Usually the teacher will help you with the good-bye and will be there to take care of your kid if he or she starts to cry.
- Create a familiar environment. If you have visited the room with the child before, try to jog your child's memory by talking about the fun play time he or she had. Otherwise, point out toys, games, or art supplies that he or she is familiar with or is interested in.
- Make a friend. If your child is on the shy side, help the kid make a friend to sit next to once you leave. Walk up to another parent, introduce yourself, and exchange introductions between your children. It helps to find connections or common ground between the two children. You could say, "That's a cool shirt, Tom. My son John loves Star Wars, too." Or you could say, "Susie likes to color princess coloring books, too. Can she color next to you?"
- Don't make promises and don't reward bad behavior. It's difficult, but you must train your child to cope with the separation and deal with going to school without you by their side. An after-school ice cream treat will just train your kid to cry to get what he or she wants out of you.
- Create a support group. Leaving your child at school is hard on parents too. Consider meeting up with your friends afterward to have a good cry together.