Five Tips To Ease First-Day Jitters


In the blink of an eye, your little one is of age and ready to start preschool – and we too are feeling the anxiety.


The first day of preschool is exciting, but often just as nerve-wrecking. Nearly every child expresses reluctance and fear as they part with their parents and enter a new environment for the first time.


Parents can rest assured that anxiety is normal, and usually temporary. It may even be sooner than you expect, that your child would have evolved from a cranky, snot-dripping ball of tears into a social butterfly, soaking in all the new activities and playing with her newfound friends!


Before that, though, there is the mammoth-sized hurdle of separation anxiety to overcome: the petulant refusal to leave your arms or the wailing that ensues as you finally turn and step out of the preschool door. We know how difficult that can be, so here are five tips to soothe your preschooler’s (and your) jitters on her first day of school.

1. Visit with your child beforehand - Take your child to visit the preschool at least once ahead of time. Familiarizing her with the school builds confidence as she moves into the new environment. Let her explore the place and bring to her attention the endless toys, play areas and books – they would ignite her interest and excitement about starting school.


2. Read together - There are plenty of children’s books in the market for easing separation anxiety when the child has to be away from mommy and daddy. A favourite is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. Reading these stories would definitely make parting easier for your child – and for you, too. 

3. Reassure your child - Your child trusts you and needs to see that you know what is going to happen; she needs to know that as you leave her, you are confident she is in safe hands. Your confidence will help her feel more secure, so stay calm and cheerful. Reassure her that the teachers are there to take care of her. Tell her with a big smile that she is going to have a good time.


4. Let her know you will return - Don’t undermine this seemingly obvious bit – even for preschoolers who are already a few weeks into school, the fear that their parents may not come back is pertinent. Explain to your child that you will return for her. Let her know when she can expect you (“I’ll come back after lunch time”), and tell her that you’ll want to hear all about the new things she did while you were away.


5. Don’t placate too much - This last tip might sound counterintuitive, but children develop social adeptness and creativity from resolving problems on their own. Your little one will find a way to soothe herself in a difficult situation, and experienced teachers are there to help. When you have to leave, leave without lingering. The faster you leave, the faster she will learn to adapt to her new environment – have confidence in your child’s ability to! 


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