Preschool marks a milestone in your child’s life but for most parents that first day is a very worrying time and concern mounts as the big day approaches over just how well the child will cope. However, with a little bit of thought and some forward planning you can do a great deal to ease your child path through this big day.
You need to start by doing is your homework. All preschools are not the same and some are better than others and some will suit your child better than others. Make the time to draw up a shortlist of possible preschools and then find out as much about them as you can.
Talk to neighbors, friends and co-workers and see where send, or are thinking about sending, their children. A recommendation from a trusted individual is an excellent starting point. Next, having narrowed your list down, visit each of the possible preschools and talk to the teachers. Use this opportunity to ask some probing questions and really try to get a feel for each school before making a decision.
Having picked out a suitable preschool the next step is to prepare your child for the big day.
The problem with starting preschool for most children comes from the fact that this is the first time that they have been away from you and from home. Accordingly, one of the best way to overcome this problem is to gradually introduce your child to being away from you and to being away from you in a strange environment. This is not too difficult and can often be accomplished quite easily with the help of other parents.
Begin by spending time away from your child by arranging for a trusted friend to come into your own home and keep an eye on the child. Start by leaving the child with the friend for just a short time and then gradually build this up to an hour and then to several hours. Also ask the trusted friend to not simply acting as a babysitter, but to slowly introducing some structured learning activity into the time spent with the child.
As soon as the child is happy being away from you for a reasonable period of time the next step is to get the child used to being in a strange environment.
Start by moving the child’s new learning activity to somewhere unfamiliar, such as a neighbor’s house, and again build the child up slowly and gradually. Begin by looking after the child yourself, then with a trusted friend and finally with the trusted friend alone.
Throughout this process it is also important for the child to spend an increasing amount of time in structured activity rather than simply in play. This activity should of course be fun and you’ll find it helpful if you take your lead in part from the child and structure activities around things that he or she enjoys doing. The aim is simply to introduce the child to the idea of focusing attention on different activities for a reasonable period of time and of finishing one task before moving on to the next or being permitted to take a break to play or to have something to eat and drink.
If it is possible, an ideal way to accomplish this preschool training is by recruiting a small group of parents in a similar situation. This will not only allow your child to get used to being away from you, but will also get the child or used being in an unfamiliar environment with other adults and with other children.
If you build your child up gradually in the weeks and months before preschool their big day will not be quite so daunting.