Helping Your Child Adjust to Preschool

Preschool is a great place for your child to learn important lessons in life such as following rules, waiting for one’s turn and sharing. Preschool also prepares your child for "actual school", kindergarten and onwards.

However, going to preschool can bring a bit of anxiety for both child and parent. For the child, entering a new environment filled with many unfamiliar faces can cause some degree of anxiety, confusion and fear. For parents, it’s usually mixed emotions on whether the child is ready for preschool.

The key is to determine if you are comfortable with your decision to send your child to preschool and to make the preschool setting familiar to your child. This way, you and your child will encounter fewer problems along the way.

Ease your child’s fears

Talk with your child about preschool before he/she starts to go. In the months leading up to his/her first day, gradually introduce activities that are usually done in school such as scribbling with paper and crayon at home. It will be comforting to your child to know that the same activities he or she does at home are also done in school.

Visit your child’s preschool classroom a few times before schooling starts so you can ease your child’s entrance into a new environment. This also provides the opportunity for you to meet your child’s teacher and ask about activities and routines. During your visits, allow your child to explore the classroom and interact with the other children. 

You should be comfortable about sending your child to preschool. Otherwise, your anxiety will show even if you try to hide it. Be calm and assured about your decision and your child will be confident about going to preschool too.

Your child’s first day

On your child’s first day, calmly reintroduce the teacher to your child then allow him/her to set the tone. This allows your child to create a bond with his/her teacher. Your endorsement of the teacher also shows your child that he/she will be safe and will enjoy his/her time in the teacher’s care.

If your child refuses to join the class, don’t get upset. This will only make things worse. Follow the guidelines that you went over with the teacher during your visits and go at your child’s pace.

Leaving your child at preschool can be difficult for a parent. Experts suggest a simple way to leave your child: say a loving good-bye to your kid, then leave promptly. Sneaking out is out of the question for it can make your child feel abandoned. On the other hand, long good-byes might make your child feel that preschool is a bad place.

Remember that most children do well once their parents leave.

Help with the transition

Whether your child is eager or reluctant to go to preschool, it’s important to make sure that a school staff is there to help with the transition. It’s different for each child. Some kids just leap right in with their classmates, while some prefer a private snuggle and/or a story from you or a caregiver before participating in class.

Most preschools have a daily routine such as talking about their activities the day before and what they’ll be doing for the day. Having this kind of routine also helps ease the transition from home to school.