A Checklist for the First few days of Preschool
THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF PRESCHOOL... are some of the most anxious times for Mom and Dad.
You have searched and researched, taking time off from work umpteen times to personally visit each preschool on your shortlist, discussing each facet of preschool with the counselor, talked to as many parents in the same boat as you could and then finally decided on the best place for your precious one. And then comes the D-Day when you dress him in a nice outfit, your camera clicking away. The thought nags you “This feels like cutting the umbilical cord all over again!”
But sweat not - here are some tips from those who have been there, done that.
Once you have decided on a preschool for your toddler, take permission to bring your child to the school campus at least 2 or 3 times before school starts. Meet the teachers and let your toddler familiarise himself with the environment there.
Talk about school in a very positive manner/tone with your child at least 4 or 5 times every day. Remind him about the things he liked there during his last visit. Tell him that he is a big boy now that he is ready for school.
Ready your child’s bag and belongings together with him. If you are preschool shopping for a water bottle or clothes for example, involve him in the decisions and the planning.
Ensure that the evening before D-Day is relaxed and at home; read him a book about the first day of school, talk about the next day, prepare his bag and clothes together and ensure that he gets a good night’s sleep.
Dont be surprised if you find it extremely difficult to drop off your child for the first few times. You might cry. Your child might cry. Your child might be totally fine and that might make you cry harder!! Know that this is completely normal.
Please make your goodbye brief and tell your child exactly when you will be returning. The crying usually stops within seconds of your departure. Trust the preschool staff to handle him.
Ensure that the school has all your contact numbers. Never leave without telling your child goodbye.
Please be in control of your child during drop off and pick up times. This is a time of testing when two different authority figures are present (parent and teacher) and this situation will be tested at one time or another to see if the rules still apply.
Children adjust to transitions from one environment to another differently. Most do not like to be too rushed and most do not like to wait too long once they are ready to depart.
Most little ones find the 3rd and 4th days the most difficult to cope up with. Use an extra ounce of patience and faith on those days.
As much as possible, DO NOT take a break in the adjustment process. Each break will work like a step backward and make going back more difficult.
And at every step of the way, talk to the counselor in the preschool on how your child is coping up.
Research shows that it takes 2 to 4 weeks for a toddler to completely settle down in a new environment if all those involved exercise love, patience, trust and cooperation. Before you know it, your precious one will be begging you to allow him to stay longer at school.