by Danielle Cheney, Director, Skaneateles Nursery School
Unlike elementary, middle school and high school children the FIRST day of school really is coming up for many three year olds attending preschool in September for the very first time. Danielle Cheney, Director of Skaneateles Nursery School, knows how hard this can be for even the most socialized children.
“As a parent I know how hard it is for us to drop our babies off at their first day of preschool,” said Cheney. “There will most likely be some tears by either the child or the parent- or both!”
Cheney has offered some tips for parents sending their three year old children to preschool for their first day of school. These tips can also help any child who has back to school jitters.
Plan More Social Activities. If your child hasn’t spent much time socializing with other children up until this point it is important to make play dates leading up to their first day of school. Activities such as sharing, taking turns and playing can be difficult for any child so helping them get used to being part of a group by play dates with one or two other children will help.
Let Him/Her Know What to Expect. Most children will be a little anxious their first day of preschool. As a parent we want to help calm those fears but try to resist the temptation to say things like “You’re going to have the most fun you’ve never had” and “There is no reason to be afraid.” Never belittle your child’s fears or concerns but instead help calm them with information.
Talk to him/her about what to expect when he gets to school. Where they will be going, who their teacher is, what they will be doing in class. Before school begins visit the classroom together and meet the teacher when other children in the same class are visiting.
Another way to ease any anxiety is reading stories about starting school. Some good ones are Preschool Day Hooray! By Linda Leopold Strauss and Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins.
Calm Mornings. The first day of preschool will be a bit hectic but planning can go a long way. The night before set out your child’s clothes with them and plan an easy breakfast. Leave the house early enough to get to school with time to spare. If you are rushing around your child will pick up on the stress.
Keep the Goodbye Short and Sweet. Once it is time to leave and say goodbye keep the ritual short and sweet. Although the teacher may let you stay for awhile try to avoid any activities such as drawing together because your child may insist you stay until she is finished. Always leave on a positive note such as a big hug and telling your child you will be back at pickup time.
Good Vibes at Pick Up. When it is finally time to pick up give your child a giant hug and call attention to the fact that you came back as promised and ask them to tell you what they did that day. If possible ask the teacher what your child was excited about that day and bring it up on the ride home. Saying something like, “It sounds like you loved story time- maybe you can do that again on Wednesday!”
Solutions for those Tears. Some kids will have a harder time than others making the transition into preschool. They may cry for several weeks at drop-off or consistently plead for you not to take them back to school. Others might start the school year dry-eyed and excited and start sobbing for you three weeks later.
Although it is heartbreaking to walk away from your upset child know that virtually every crying kid calms down within a few minutes, if not seconds, after their parent leaves the room.
Allowing your child to voice his concerns will go a long way toward alleviating his stress. You can also help the teacher out by sharing information about your child’s likes, dislikes and favorite activities so she can skillfully redirect his attention.
Remember, these teary-eyed days won’t last forever!
- 6/10/2013 • Theater Weekend Held at Adirondack Great Camp
- 6/09/2013 • Skaneateles Hosts Antique and Classic Boat Show
- 6/08/2013 • Baltimore Woods Announces Programs for June 2013
- 6/07/2013 • Imagine Presents ‘Saturation of Color’
- 6/06/2013 • 2nd Annual CNY World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP) is June 15th, 2013