The first few weeks of preschool are definitely not less than a nightmare. You will have to encounter lots of tears and resistance. Plus that mom guilt!
But it’s not like that you don’t have to do anything and just bear whatever is going on.
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Here are a few tips that can really help you to smooth out the first month of preschool.
1- Visit the school before starting
The very first thing you should do is to visit the preschool before actually starting school. Take her there and tell her that this is going to be the place where you will come and meet your new friends.
This will help her to develop some familiarity with the surrounding.
Suddenly dropping her at an unknown place can scare her, so it’s a good idea to visit at least once.
2- Start gradually
Do not drop the child at preschool for full time, right away.
Start with minimal time. Let her stay there for 15-30 minutes only. Even if she stops crying, you should take her back home before she starts to get fed up.
You can take permission from the school staff to spend time at school, but stay away from the sight of your child otherwise, she won’t settle down.
3- Let her pack her bag
The night before school, you should encourage the child to pack her bag. If you are worried that she will be stuffing the whole toy cabinet into her bag, then offer her a few of her favorite toys and ask her if she wants to put them into her bag!
Ask her to pack her coloring supplies and tell her how she is going to color with her friends at school. When she will be there, those coloring supplies may help her to be calm and enjoy a little bit.
4- Talk to your child and do not become strict
It’s best to talk to the child about what is coming next. Do not tell her fairy tales about the school. Talk about what is actually going to happen.
Never underestimate the power of “talk” with kids. Don’t make assumptions that kids can’t understand your words. They can! So talk to them, it’s a great way to communicate with their hearts.
5- Establish a routine even on the weekends
You must establish a school-like routine even before actually starting school. Wake her up at the time when are going to wake her up for school. This way she won’t be upset because of being sleepy and may take a little less time to adjust at school.
6- Get her gifts for the teacher
Gifts are a great source of showing interest, appreciation, and strengthening bonds. You can buy your baby a gift for her teacher so she could be more excited about meeting her.
Some schools don’t allow teachers to receive gifts from students so if you are planning to get her one, It’s better to ask the staff first and let them know why you are doing so.
7- Set yourself as a role model
Tell her your own story. I know you don’t remember how was your first day at school but you can tell her that when you went to school for the very first time, you enjoyed it a lot.
Be realistic and tell her that you were a little scared at the beginning but when you made new friends, you had a great time there.
Children love to know more about their parents and other primary caretakers. So take advantage of this and make their minds.
8- Pretend Play
Use dolls and playsets to show her what is going to be the scenario. How she will enter the classroom, how the teacher will meet her, and she will sit and play with her friends.
Show her that mommy will be leaving the room and she will be back when the baby will be done playing.
Roleplay and pretend & play is great source of learning for kids at this age, only if you know how to use it properly.
9- Avoid scolding or threatening
Never think that if you will scold her or tell her that if she won’t be going to school you will take her toys back or anything like that.
The negative associations with the school may hurt her interest in studies for the long term. So make sure that you are representing her school as a very good thing.
10- Admit her emotions
If she says “I don’t want to go to school, I’m scared.”.
You Don’t say, “there is nothing to be scared of.”
It will not help her to feel fine, instead, she may become more scared.
So it’s best to admit her emotions and tell her that it’s completely fine if she feels that way and how you are with her. Make her feel more loved.
“You’re scared? I know you are. When I first went to school, I felt the same. Everyone feels the same on the very first day. But mommy is with you. I will wait for you outside until you will start to enjoy.”
11- Praise her
Even if she cried the hell out of her lungs! Tell her that she did a great job by sitting on the seat for 1 minute or shaking the hand with the teacher.
“I’m really proud of you! I could see that you were trying to make friends there and remember? Your teacher was so happy when you were shaking hands with her.
Bring her focus to the positive things and do not let her think that she is crying at school.
12- Celebrate the achievements
Make her every visit to the school achievement. Give her a reward of sitting there for even 5 minutes right after school. Take her to a park in the evening so she could enjoy herself and have a good mood.
If you took her to the park, make sure to let her know that tomorrow she will be going to school again.
Make her life full of fun when she starts school.
Don’t worry, these rewards and visits to the play areas are not going to last forever.
When she will make friends in her class and feel comfortable with her teacher, you can gradually cut these things off.
13- Keep the promises
If you promised her that you will be there by 11 a.m. Make sure that you are there by then.
If you have promised her that you will get her favorite toy with you when you will come to pick her up. That toy should be with you.
14- Let her bring her comforting friend
If your child has a friend, like a teddy bear or a doll. You can ask her to take that toy with her so she could feel more comfortable.
Studies say that a stuffed animal friend helps children beat separation anxiety and that’s what is happening at the time of starting preschool.
15- Never compare
Never say to your child, “look no other kid is crying like you.”
Comparison can lower the child’s self-esteem and make them more anxious and stressed. It won’t help!
It may take some time and effort but it’s definitely going to happen. One day you will drop your child at the school gate and she will go inside after smiling and waving at you. Just like the other parts of parenting, It’s also a phase, that shall pass.
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