For many parents, dropping your child off at preschool for the first time can be nerve-wracking. So when your child screams and cries upon arriving at school, that can only make it worse. To start, remember that this behavior is a normal part of child development.
“Children go through feelings of separation anxiety for different reasons, but on a basic level, they believe their survival is dependent on having a primary caregiver close by. Toddlers are also still too young to understand the concept of time,” Mali Anderson writes in Parents.
How can you begin to help your preschooler get past these feelings of anxiety? With three-fourths of young children in the United States participating in a preschool program, here are some techniques that parents can use to help their child feel more comfortable with their morning transition.
- Give Happy Goodbyes: Your child checked off all requirements for preschool and arrived at the door of their first day, so this is your chance to show a positive attitude. Even if you are sad about leaving your child at school, do your best to smile and be enthusiastic. If you show that preschool is a happy place to be, your child may reflect this attitude. If your child senses that you are upset or that you have any doubt about leaving them, this will create more anxiety for them.
- Develop A Routine: Children find comfort in routine, so create a positive one and stick to it. Whether it’s packing their lunch together or reading a book in the morning, use the morning to make your child feel safe and happy. This will get them in the best possible mindset to attend school that day.
Above all, be sure to communicate your concerns with your child’s teachers. The best academic preschool programs will be able to help your child work through their anxiety and sadness, and eventually, he or she will be excited to be there. Consider making this kind of support one of your requirements for preschool or daycare facilities as you select which is best for your child.