Separation anxiety is a common emotional problem for children starting preschool. Preschool is a major step. For some children, it’s the first time away from parents and the comforts of their home. Even if your child has already experienced separation in the past, your child may have a challenging time in a novel situation. According to Touchpoints 3 to 6 by Joshua Sparrow, M.D., the most common challenge is for a child to say bye to parents. As a parent, how can you help soothe your child’s transition into preschool?
Children can pick up on parents’ doubt or uncertainties. At such a young age, children can often model their parents’ behavior. The first step in approaching the separation process is for you to become completely confident in the situation. Release any fear or unhappiness that you may be personally experiencing. By strengthening yourself, you set up a solid emotional foundation for your child.
Before starting class, visit the school or better yet, introduce your child to the teacher. If there is an open house prior to the first day of school, you can introduce your child to his or her future classmates. You can also meet and bond with other parents who are going through a similar process. On the first day of school, you can give a small comforting object to help the transition from home to the new preschool environment. Consider giving your child their favorite teddy bear or blanket to ensure that home is near. Also, reassure your child that you will be back.
Emphasize the Positive
Understand that your child is going to gain a new mentor in his or her instructor. Your child will also learn how to socialize and make friends. Kids enjoy the daily routine that preschool provides, everything from snack time to nap time. Make these benefits sound fun when you discuss preschool with your child.