Have you ever experienced the first day of school in a class of 3 or 4 year olds? So often the tears are flowing everywhere. However, there are some simple tips that parents and teachers can use to prevent children from experiencing separation anxiety on their first day.
* Psychiatrists say that forming a strong bond of trust with your infant is the most important factor in preventing anxiety later in life. Passing your child around to strangers can damage this trust. Many children only feel safe with close relatives.
* Hold your child close and read books about preschool. Explore books that have a variety of situations and feelings about school. This will show your child that he is not alone in having feelings of fear or uncertainty. Reading can open up communication, and promote relaxation; but the most beneficial reward is an increase in the parent child trust.
* Make an apple for teacher. This simple activity can serve as an example of what to expect at preschool. It also teaches the child that the teacher is important and worthy of respect. Children naturally love to give gifts of their artwork.
GIFT FOR THE TEACHER
Paint your child’s palm with red paint. Press the palm on paper to create the apple. Pour a small amount of green paint into a flat container. Dip the pad of the thumb in green paint and press above the apple print to make a leaf and stem.
* Talk about how much fun preschool will be. Role-play with teddy bears as props situations that your child may encounter at school. Cover general rules of behavior like listening to the teacher, and conflict resolution between children. You can also teach your child how to introduce himself, and make friends.
* Visit the school before the big day to meet the teacher and some of the other children in the class. Your child will feel more comfortable knowing where his belongings will be stored, how to find the bathroom, and what activities they may do. Some teachers even send you home with a project to complete and bring back on the first day.
* Invite some of the outgoing children in the class to a playtime at your house. Children feel safe in their own home and will want to make new friends. It’s important for your child to see some familiar faces on that first day of school.
* As often as possible have your child practice calling home on a real telephone. If you’re out shopping and your husband is home, have your child call home and say hello. Not only will he learn his phone number, he will understand that you are only a phone call away.
*Let your child pick out a new outfit or some school supplies. Making and packing their lunch in their new backpack will make them feel grown-up and more in charge of this new experience.
* On the big day make a smooth transition with the caregiver. It is important that you are kind, but firm while quickly handing the authority over to the teacher. Sometimes the child will test both you and the teacher to discover who is in charge. When you drop off and pick up, don’t hang around too long.
* Make sure you can give your child your undivided attention when you pick them up at the end of thee day. Praise them for their accomplishments in school. Ask them leading questions that emphasize the fun of preschool. Ex. What did you do today that was the most fun? Who was the nicest person you met today? Give them an opportunity to express their negative feelings as well.
When the first day arrives, you’ll know that you did all you could to prepare your child for this important day. Now, the first day of school is sure to be a great day!