Goodbye Without Tears: Advice from Parents Magazine

The start of the school year can be a difficult time for both parents and children. Luckily, Parents Magazine has a helpful article about how to ease the transition to starting preschool. See the first few paragraphs of the article below:

The start of preschool is a milestone that’s often anticipated with great excitement and joy, but also with lots of crying, uncertainty, and heel digging — from both kids and parents! “For children, the main source of anxiety around entering preschool is that they have absolutely no idea what to expect,” says Katrina Green, a certified early childhood and early childhood special education teacher at the Just Wee Two program in Brooklyn, New York. “They have spent the first three to four years learning the rules and routines of their family life and they are completely unfamiliar with the new rules and routines they will encounter. For parents, the main source of separation anxiety is worrying that their child will feel abandoned.” Read on to learn the best ways for you and your child to ease the separation anxiety and to successfully start this new adventure — together and apart!

Be Consistent

Many moms may see their child have a bad first reaction to preschool and immediately decide to pull him out of the classroom. But that’s a bad idea: “It denies the child an opportunity to learn how to work through negative feelings and sets a precedent of not having to face problems,” Green says. Instead, consistency is key when it comes to making preschool a part of your child’s new routine. Simply going together on a regular basis will provide your little one with a strong sense of anticipation. Keep your goodbyes short and sweet so that your child knows what to expect but doesn’t prolong your departure. When you pick him up at the end of the day, reinforce the idea that you came back, just like you said you would. This way, each day’s drop-off won’t feel like you’re both starting teary and upsetting goodbyes all over again.

Get the Teacher Involved

Ideally, your child’s preschool teacher will be a warm, caring, and experienced individual who can anticipate her students’ needs. But since she is new to you, too, brief her with necessary information that will help her and your child get to know each other better. “It’s helpful for me to know as much as possible about a child’s home life in order to ease their transition into preschool,” Green says. “Their eating, sleeping, and toileting patterns are just as important as knowing their favorite color, what games they like to play, or what songs they like to sing. It also helps to know what techniques the family uses to calm a child down when she is feeling upset or anxious [so I can] try to replicate those techniques in the classroom.” Be sure to let the teacher know about any medical issues, such as food allergies.

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