Our Preschool In San Jose: How To Handle First-Day Anxiety
While many children take to preschool like a duck takes to water, some of our students are a bit anxious about this transition. Separation anxiety is quite common, and at our preschool in San Jose, we’ve discovered a few helpful tips that can make those first days just a bit easier.
1. Keep Life Simple
Children thrive with a stable routine, and it makes them feel safe when they know what to expect throughout the day. Attending preschool in San Jose is a big change in their routine. If possible, make this the only change in their routine for a while. For instance, this probably wouldn’t be the best time to bring home a family pet or enroll them in a new class or activity.
This change also might necessitate alterations in their wake-up and sleep times. It can be wise to begin changing these times several weeks prior to attending preschool. You also can print up a Daily Schedule and tape it to the refrigerator and list their daily activities. Obviously, very young children won’t be able to read all of the words, so add a picture for reference. For wake-up time, you might put a picture of the sun, while for school time, you might draw a picture of a school building and so on. Many children feel secure when they know what to expect during the day.
2. Schedule A Student Tour
As a parent, you’ve probably visited our preschool in San Jose, CA and seen firsthand what we do and how we do it. However, it also can be a great idea to bring your child to the school a few days prior to their actual start date. This provides them with an opportunity to meet their teacher and look around a bit and become familiar with these new surroundings.
After the visit, ask your child to name a few things that they liked about the school. Perhaps the playground was enticing or they enjoyed looking at some of our books, or they were excited about an activity they saw in one of our classrooms or loved the idea of having their own cubby. You also can share some of the observations you made, such as “I liked that the teachers were so friendly and kind,” or “I liked that there were so many interesting activities.” It can help to bring them to the school two or three times prior to the start date, so that these new surroundings become as familiar as possible.
3. Connect To Prior Experiences
In their short lifetime, preschool children have faced a variety of challenges. It can be smart to remind them of their ability to deal with a new and possibly scary situation. For instance, perhaps your child was afraid of going down the slide at the park but overcame that fear and now enjoys it. Perhaps your child was anxious about attending birthday parties but now loves these experiences. Remind your child that they have been scared before but that everything turned out just fine.
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4. Stay Positive
Your child might have negative emotions initially, but it is important that the parents stay positive and upbeat. Even if the first day is a bit rocky, give your child a hug and tell them how proud you are that they took on this new challenge. While you need to stay positive, don’t brush off their anxieties and comments. Let them know you understand how they feel and listen to their concerns, but keep an upbeat tone and be firm but kind. Your child will face so many challenges throughout their lifetime, and many of these challenges will be quite difficult. The preschool experience will be the first of many challenges, but at our preschool in San Jose, we make it as easy as possible for our students to make this transition.
5. Resist The Guilt
It’s perfectly normal for parents to feel guilty and ambivalent about this new situation, but your child will be safe at our preschool in San Jose. Our primary goal is for the children to feel safe and secure as well as providing them with interesting and engaging activities. Preschool benefits children in a variety of ways, helping them become more independent and confident and instilling a love of learning.
While your child might be anxious at first, give them time to adjust, and you’ll need time to adjust as well. Many parents are understandably emotional dropping their child off those first few days. Consider meeting a friend for coffee after that first drop off to let off some emotion and discuss how you are feeling. This can be just as emotional for you as your child, and that’s ok, however, do your best to put up a brave face in front of your child, as this makes their transition easier. By the way, we do provide parents with camera access to our school that parents can view a live feed anytime. Taking a peek at what your child is doing (and enjoying!) can go a long way to alleviating your own anxiety.
6. Create A Goodbye Routine
Before the first day, create a goodbye ritual for drop-off time. Maybe this will include two hugs and a kiss or perhaps you’ll give a wave and blow a kiss as you walk away. You can even place a small item in their backpack and give it a hug and kiss as you place it in the pack. This item, a tiny stuffed animal, a photograph of your family, a heart-shaped stone or another item will remind them of your love and make them feel a bit more secure during the day. However, this item should not be something that is a favorite, such as a favorite plush or a security blanket. Keep these precious items at home rather than bringing them to our preschool in San Jose.
Of course, some children are perfectly happy from their first day onward, and it probably will surprise you how quickly your little one becomes acclimated to their new surroundings. If you are interested in signing your child up for our preschool in San Jose, contact us at any time and we will schedule a tour of our facilities.