For some, you may be counting the days to send off your child to school or day care; for others, you may experience some anxiety about this fresh new start and milestone in your child’s life—especially if they are attending preschool for the first time or beginning at a new child care center.As exciting as this endeavor may be, it does come with a fair share of mixed emotions for the parent as well as the child. I see it often with parents: You may question whether you have made the right decision about sending your child off to preschool, or whether you have truly chosen the right school or child care setting.
There might even be some fears about how your child is going to be able to adjust to the new setting. I have sat with many parents and seen that sense of wonder in their eyes; even more so, I have felt the sense of guilt that the parent may be facing in having to make the decision of placing their precious babe in child care.
For the child, let’s face it: Being placed in an unfamiliar setting with new faces without the security of their parent may be a little scary at first. Do not be dismayed—all of these emotions are indeed real, but soon enough, they will be a past chapter in your and your child’s lives. Here are my top six tips for overcoming anxiety when starting preschool or a new child care center.
The first time you schedule an appointment to tour the school, think about going alone. This will give you the opportunity to make observations and ask questions in complete detail without the distraction of your little one.
- Do a solo visit.The first time you schedule an appointment to tour the school, think about going alone. This will give you the opportunity to make observations and ask questions in complete detail without the distraction of your little one.
- Schedule a return visit. After you have had your initial tour with the child care center, call and schedule an appointment to return and visit again. It is a well-known fact that after your initial visit with multiple centers or caregivers, it will all seem like one great ball of confusion. You may have even come up with questions after you left the site that you did not think of before. Getting answers to these questions may set your mind at ease or help you in making a comfortable, informed decision. Coming back for a second meeting could be just what you need.
- Make your child on a visit to familiarize them with the school. The more comfortable you are about your decision and the more familiar the setting can be made for your child, the more comfortable you and your little one will be on the first day of school.
- Ask to bring in your child for a couple of hours to get a feel for the school. You should stay with them as well. This will give you the opportunity to see what happens during the day, the interaction between the teachers and the children, and the interaction between the children as a whole.
- If necessary, ask for an additional day where your child can stay for an hour or so. This time, leave the room but remain on the premises. This is the perfect opportunity to see how your child will react when you are no longer in the room. After the experience, you can speak about how much fun they had and how much fun they will have when they return the next day.
- Display comfort with your decision. What inspired you to make your decision in selecting his or her preschool or child care center? Share that excitement about your decision with your child. Children will react based upon your outward cues. If you are anxious or worried, your child will sense that and this may make your transition difficult.