Many students will be hitting the books in the next few weeks with the start of a new school year. While some may be excited, others may be a bit anxious about what lies ahead in the classroom. For most preschoolers, going off to school brings on a mix of emotions. This bittersweet time can be both adventurous and frightening for both the parent and child.
According to Jessica Kemper, director of in Severna Park, here are three tips to get your preschooler excited about their new adventure and prepared for their first day.
1. Prior Experience Preferred
“Make sure the first day of preschool is not the first time they are left without their parents,” advises Kemper. If a child has confidence in experiencing a short term separation from their parents, it will be easier for the child to plunge into another experience while at school.
Whether it is time spent with grandparents, other relatives or a babysitter, allowing the child to experience a temporary separation from the parents give them confidence that you will return.
2. Perception is Everything
“Remain enthusiastic and upbeat. Children are very intuitive and will sense the parents’ nervousness,” Kemper said. If a parent appears nervous or worried about the experience, the child will also get nervous. In the same way, a parent’s excitement about school is contagious.
3. Leave it to the Pros
“Trust the professionals,” said Kemper. “Tears are normal and caregivers have experience in dealing with these anxieties. Even though a child may start off feeling uncomfortable, many times, by the end of the day, they won’t want to go home.”
Once a child has a positive experience at preschool, it will be something they look forward to participating in on a daily basis.
Other ideas for making the transition to preschool successful are getting special supplies and visiting the school beforehand.
While preschoolers do not have a supply list like their older counterparts, getting them a few special supplies or a tote bag is a great way to make them look forward to their first day of preschool.
If feasible, visiting the preschool building before classes start will allow a youngster to get familiar with the surroundings and get excited about a new environment.