Starting preschool is an important and exciting milestone for you and your child. Are they going to separate from the mother/caregiver with ease? Are they going to like the classroom, the teacher, or play cooperatively with the other children? These questions might arise in the minds of the parents and worry may accompany with them. We have prepared recommendations for parents to facilitate their children's transition to school.
Make sure your child’s vaccination requirements are completed. Arrange an appointment with your pediatrician and have hearing and vision examinations done. Make sure that they are healthy and that their development progresses smoothly at this stage.
Emotional readiness is also important. You should first start the preparation at home. You can arrange your symbolic games around the concept of school, read stories about the transition from home to school environment. Let your child share their feelings about going to preschool. They may feel excited, anxious, eager, nervous, or a combination of both positive and challenging emotions. Create opportunities for the child to get used to the idea of school.
Let your children take care of their basic responsibilities such as getting dressed and eating if you saw them once putting on his clothes or shoes, taking off his socks, or holding a spoon for a few seconds. Kids won’t learn self-care skills without struggling, making mistakes, or messing up. To encourage independence give them small responsibilities at home that they can master over time such as washing and drying their hands. There are two things to emphasize about teaching kids self-care skills: one, it won’t happen overnight so try to be patient, two, forget about being perfect and focus on being “good enough”.
Children who have always played at home and never went for the playgrounds outside until they start the school will be more likely to have school related difficulties.
Pandemic has caused us to fear and avoid from the public places or crowded social gatherings, but you can increase these without risking your child’s health. Initiate play groups with your relatives’ or friends’ children. Use neighborhood children parks or private centers for kids. Being in these social environments for a few hours a few times a week will make it easier for your child to get used to school. At the same time, it will develop their adaptation, problem-solving skills and increase their positive social behaviors.
Your child may be used to going to bed late and waking up late. Establish a solid sleep schedule to make your school transition easier. Make sure they sleep and eat about the same time every day.
Search your school thoroughly, meet and chat with school staff before it starts. Share your fears and concerns with the teachers. If you have uneasy feelings about the school personnel, it is almost impossible for your child not to feel that. Remember, your insecurities and anxieties will pass on to your child, which will eventually make it harder for him to get used to school.
Visit the garden and outdoor spaces of your future school with your child. It is important to progress step by step. After exploring the outdoors, slowly move to the school entrance and corridors. Lastly, tour the classroom, let them explore freely and introduce them to their teacher. This way of pre-interacting and familiarizing with the people they’re going to meet at the school will facilitate the separation from home and the transition to school. In this time period, be in contact and cooperate with your school. Share with your school if you think your child or you develop separation anxiety problems.
If you decided on the school and the first day comes, then you should not overplay nor dramatize your absence. Mother or the caretaker should first be able to leave her child. Children should be encouraged. “You are a little upset and worried. But you will get used to the school with time. Your school is full of fun and I trust your teachers.”
Have self-confidence and show your calmness in your attitude. Tell them specifically when they are going to see you again. Learn from the teacher the plans for that day and tell your kid after which activity you will be there. Say, for example, “your mother will be waiting right next to this giant door after gymnastics class ends”. Make sure not to be late for the first week of school.
You are deeply connected to your child and they might be the most precious thing in this world to you. It is very difficult for you to lose those times that you had with them one on one. Even though they are physically and emotionally ready if you think that they will have difficulties without your presence, that they will not succeed, that they will not be complete without you, actually you might be the person who is not ready to leave.