In general, people enjoy routines, and children are no exception. Routines are comforting, safe, and familiar. Deviating from their routine can make children feel anxious, which can lead to tears and tantrums. Many children initially don't like preschool because it's such an unfamiliar experience, but you can make a difference as a parent. Here are four tips you can use to help your child get over their fears about attending preschool.
1. Attend open house days.
Some preschools offer open house events to allow parents to meet their child's future preschool teacher. If your child is anxious about starting preschool, bringing them to an open house can help them feel more secure. You can introduce your child to their new teacher to ensure their relationship gets started in a positive way. Allow your child to ask the teacher any questions they may have about starting preschool.
2. Talk to your child about school.
Starting preschool can feel upsetting to your child if it's sprung on them as a surprise. Get your child used to the idea of attending school by mentioning it often. Tell your child things like "you're starting school next week" to give them information about the expected timeline. Remember that your child has no idea what school is like, so you might want to tell them stories about your time at preschool to give them an idea of what to expect.
3. Don't make a big deal about saying goodbye.
If your child cries when you drop them off at preschool, you may think you're helping by staying longer and comforting them. In reality, you're making it harder for your child to transition into their school day. It may feel callous, but the best thing you can do for your child is to make your goodbyes short and sweet. Give your child a kiss and tell them you'll see them after school, then make your departure. Try to keep the tone of your interaction light and happy. Your child may cry, but they will quickly get over their feelings of sadness once you've left.
4. Reward your child after a successful day of school.
When you pick your child up from preschool, remember to provide encouragement. Let your child know how proud of them you are and ask them what they did in school that day. Hopefully they will be excited to share all the things they learned and experienced. You can provide positive associations with school by giving your child a small reward ,like their favorite snack or movie.