Some Ideas on Separating from your Preschooler
Even for children who love school, the first few days back at school after a long and full summer can be a little bit disconcerting. New teachers, new routines, new classmates…it can all be a little overwhelming for many preschoolers (and their parents ☺ !) It’s not unusual for even the most independent child to cling to a mom or dad, or even shed a few tears at drop off time on the first or second day of preschool. We think there are some wonderful ways teachers and parents can work together to minimize separation anxiety the first few days of preschool; they are listed below.
• Talk positively about preschool ahead of time: their new teacher, their new friends, their new classroom.
• If they bring up comparisons from last year, acknowledge them. “Not everything will be the same this year, but it still will be great!”
• Tell your child you will stay for the first few minutes (if they need it.) If they don’t need it, you’re home free! ☺
• If they do need it, be prepared to linger for the first 10 minutes or so in the classroom. Walk around and acquaint yourself and your child with the room, engage in one of the activities that will connect your child with the classroom and his new classmates.
• Be prepared to leave after the first 10 minutes. Sometimes this is as hard for a parent as it is for the child, especially when you sense your child wants you to stay or is especially clingy. Give them a hug and a kiss, tell them they will have a great day, and you will be back to pick them up right on time at the end of the day. Perhaps plan a special treat after the first day for them to look forward to when they have stayed for the full session. We know it’s hard, but even if your child is crying, we will encourage you to leave. We will be very attentive to your child, and take good care of him/her. Kids usually stop crying after the first 5 or 10 minutes and truly enjoy the day. Be assured that if your child does not settle into the classroom in a reasonable amount of time, we will call you and discuss options.
• Trust your new teachers. All of us are highly experienced teachers and we have wonderful teaching assistants; we have years of preschool experience between us. We will take good care of your child. We know that transitions can be hard, but we also know how to help your child make those transitions to preschool. If you like, you may wait out in the hallway to listen, but we would encourage you to refrain from peeking in or coming in.
• Trust your child. Preschoolers are wonderfully resilient little people. They have so much energy and enthusiasm for life. Preschool offers them wonderful opportunities to explore and experiment. You can’t imagine all the great stuff we will do this year! So, even if the first few days are a little tough, they will soon love school and be racing out the door to get here. ☺
• Be prompt about picking them up. They love and trust you, and when you say you will be there at dismissal time, they believe you. Don’t add to their worries by being a little late.
• Show up on day two about 5 minutes early, so they don’t have time to be worried, but just enough time to get excited. Remember these are the first days of the rest of their school lives- we want them to be positive and joyful!!
• Be in contact with the teachers or assistants if you have any concerns or questions.
We anticipate a wonderful year together!!
Winchester Preschool Staff