Be prepared for some tears
It’s a scenario played out at preschools everywhere. Please don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Children this age thrive on familiarity so when they are placed into a new situation, it’s common if they panic a little bit.
The key is to make sure you are ready for your child to go to preschool. If you have any doubt or concerns, your child is going to pick up on it immediately. So on the big day, keep a bright smile on your face and stay positive. This will set a great tone for your child and make them realise that going to preschool is something they can and should look forward to.
In any case, crying children is nothing new. We can tailor different processes with you and your child to deal with this very situation and we may encourage you to leave. It will probably be the hardest thing you’ll have to do, but it really does work. Nine out of ten times, the child stops crying within five minutes of the parent leaving. You’ll return to the preschool a few hours later to find your child, happy and content with a pile of artwork they cannot wait to show you. If we cannot get your child to calm down, rest assured we will be in touch. If that does happen – and it’s not at all often – we would ask you to come back and sit and play for a while. We don’t want you to come to preschool and take away a distressed child, because that’s the memory they will keep – preschool and tears. Instead we want you to sit and play with them, and when they are calm and happy, that’s the best time to leave.
We have your child’s best interest at heart and do not want them to have a bad experience with us. We will take slow steps in the right direction that is unique for you and your child.
We’re all in this together
If your child has been in the preschool before, draw on that visit. Point out things they may remember. Say things like, “Hey, there are those blocks you played with the last time we were here. Remember how you built that great tower? Maybe you could do that again.”
The great thing about the first day of preschool is that there are others that are going through the same exact thing as you. Your child's key person is placed to support you and your child’s transition into preschool. We will support and help you to overcome any anxieties that you may feel.
Leaving is the hardest part
There are some definite no-no’s when it comes to saying goodbye that could actually make separating more difficult. First thing to remember is not to remove your child from the preschool. It makes it that much harder to bring them back in. Your child’s key person will offer help and assistance.
It might be tempting, but do not sneak away if your child becomes distracted by another activity. Your child needs to learn that preschool is a place that they go to without parents/carers and saying goodbye is part of the process. If you “disappear”, your child is likely to become very clingy and distressed when you take them to new places, because they never know when you will abandon them.
Don’t ask them if it’s OK for you to leave and don’t make a promise like, “If you stay here at preschool, I’ll buy you some ice cream when I pick you up.” This can reinforce the behaviour and encourage them to continue – if it’s getting them what they want!
If you feel yourself getting upset, try not to let your child see! It may be best at that point to say a quick goodbye and leave. We can comfort your child and remember, they are in very safe and nurturing hands. You are welcome to give us a phone call to see how they have settled in, just give us half an hour at least.
If your child does well on the first day, be prepared, you may not be out woods just yet! Some children waltz right into preschool as happy as can be and everyone is content. But then, when the “honeymoon” period is over, your child may start to cry when you leave. This too is very common. Basically the novelty of school has worn off and your child realises that they are not with you. Keep bringing them to preschool and dropping them off with their key person and this too will stop in time.
Remember… you are not alone and we are here to help support all of your needs. We want you and your child to feel at home at Harrietsham Preschool!