So, you’ve weighed up all the options and have chosen a preschool that you love. But now you’re feeling anxious about the looming first day of preschool on the horizon! It’s very normal to be nervous about being away from your little one for the day – after all, you’ve been their sole support for many months by this stage. However, your child will pick up on your stress and anxiety, so it’s important to stay calm before sending them to preschool. Here are a few suggestions from the @Sandton Kids team on what you can do to steady your nerves before the big day.
You’ll have visited the pre-school before deciding that it’s the right fit, so get all the info you need on their security practices, what they do if there’s an accident or health emergency, and how you can stay in contact during the day. It helps to have all this information up-front rather than trying to find it out on the day.
While you’re checking in with the pre-school, ensure you know exactly what your child needs to bring with them every day. Create a checklist that you can run through and ensure that everything from dummies and bottles to jackets, hats and sunscreen is packed the night before. This will not only help you feel a little bit more in control of the situation, but it also means you’ll be calm and prepared for the big day.
In the run-up to their first day, help your child to socialise through playdates or group activities. It’s good to get them used to being in a group so they can start building the social skills they need, including collaborative play and sharing with others. This will not only help them make friends quickly in their new school, but it’ll also ease your mind as you see them get to grips with new settings.
Create a short but sweet goodbye routine for you and your little one so that they know what to expect and that you will return to collect them at the end of the day. Whether it’s a hug, high-five or a saying, ensure that you do this every day as you drop them off, with a teacher there to provide comfort if they cry. It might be tempting to sneak out so that leaving doesn’t become a ‘big thing’ but both you and your child will appreciate this stress-free routine.
Keep it together
As we’ve said, children will pick up when you’re stressed, anxious or sad – try to relax and smile with confidence while dropping them off and waving them goodbye. Understand that this is a natural part of parenthood that will not always be easy, but will be for the best.
Don’t imagine the worst
After you’ve dropped off your child at preschool, don’t assume that they’ll have a terrible time and struggle to adjust. While it might be strange at first, your child will adapt quickly and be kept occupied by qualified teachers who are very used to looking after little ones. Focus on the amazing things that your child will experience, the positive ways in which they’ll grow and develop, and the interesting stuff they’ll learn about. Remember that your anxiety might just become their anxiety when they think about leaving you, so be positive.
No matter what developmental level your child is on, if they’re in the right school with the right teachers, they won’t get left behind – they will learn at their own rate and thrive. Pre-school is an important space for them to be in as they pick up their social skills, develop motor skills and, most importantly, have a day that is filled with stimulation.