Starting preschool for the first time is a big change for both you and your child, and it’s natural to feel anxious about how you are both going to cope with the transition. Fortunately, we have come up with some top tips to help you settle your little one in.
- Talk about preschool positively
A few days before your child is due to start, start chatting to them about how wonderful it will be for them to meet new friends and play with different toys. Young children easily pick up on their parents’ emotions, so if you are calm, enthusiastic and confident that all will be well, then your child should feel the same way too.
- Plan some settling in visits
Most preschools will offer the opportunity for you to visit with your child before they start, so they can get used to the new environment. At Gateway we run Toddler Mornings, which provide the chance for you and your child to stay and play, to meet our staff and help familiarise your child with the setting. We also offer a visit where your child can stay for a short time on their own, while you pop for a quick coffee, so that they can begin settling in and forming new relationships, before joining the preschool.
- Choose a comforter from home
If your child has a favourite comfort item from home, such as a small soft toy, consider allowing them to take it into preschool with them. Our highly trained staff understand that children may need a comforter and they will be able to freely access it as needed during the settling in process. Explain to your child that if they are missing you they should cuddle the item close and remember you’ll be back to pick them up soon.
- Keep goodbyes brief
Children follow your lead so if you get upset and cling to your child when you drop them off, there will likely be tears when you have to leave. Try to have a bright smile on your face (even if you feel awful!) and make the parting loving but brief. Find a member of staff, give your child a quick hug and a kiss, and wave goodbye. You could always sneak a peek through the window a few minutes later to check they’re playing happily, or telephone the office later on for extra reassurance.
- Allow time to settle
If your child cries every time you drop them off, it’s natural to feel guilty. Some children can take a little longer to settle into their new routine but given a few weeks, they should soon start enjoying all the different activities on offer. It will be hard, but stay strong and your perseverance will pay off. Remember that attending preschool offers lots of stimulation and social interaction, which is great for your child’s development.
Hopefully this article has provided some helpful tips to help both you and your child prepare for starting preschool. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494 862 407.
We look forward to seeing you and your little one soon!
Suzanne Kemp (Head of Early Years)