The first day of preschool is one of the most important days of your little one’s life. It is the day that signals the start of your child’s academic life – a time where they learn everything that will make them what they will be for the rest of their lives.
However, many parents find it challenging to send their children off on their first day. Children find it stressful to leave their parents’ side, only to be put in a room full of strangers. For a child who has known comfort only with his/her parents, the absence of mom and dad, even for a few hours can be quite traumatic!
Some shrug this off as a minor issue, not realizing that it can have lasting effects. Feelings of resentment, fear, and insecurity can well up inside the little ones, which can affect their lives later. That is why it is very important to prepare your child well in advance for preschool so that the experience will be more enjoyable to them.
Keep your little one away from you for a few hours every day. Keeping your child with you at all times, and then suddenly putting them in a strange environment stresses the little one. Train your child to be independent by letting them spend some time without you, little by little, in progression until preschool begins.
Do not be overprotective. it is okay to let your child be on his own. Constant vigilance, and telling them what to do and what not to do can make them highly dependent, fearful and shy.
Be constructive in your criticism. When you have to correct your child, make sure you do not use harsh, criticizing words, but use language that is positive and constructive. For example, “You should not do this because you are a good responsible child.”
Do not indulge your child’s tantrums too much. You need to strike a healthy balance here – you must neither be overly indulgent nor should you make your child feel as neglected.
Never encourage fear, unless necessary. Always encourage your child to overcome his/her fears. Do not reinforce fearful fears, because these fears will then get deeply entrenched into their psyche. At the same time, do not criticize or force them to face their fears, but gently help them overcome them.
Train your child to be sociable. Always encourage your child to make friends. Show them how to address a group of people by giving them simple training in public speaking. Most importantly never criticize them harshly for voicing their opinions. Instead, guide them gently on how and when to speak correctly.
These tips will help your child develop a confident, independent attitude that will enable them to go through their first day at school without distress, enabling them to feel comfortable and to socialize even in a strange environment.