Do you think it is possible to prepare a child for their first day at preschool? In my opinion, it is not only possible but encouraged. In general when children are well prepared and know what to expect, things go a lot easier. Even as adults when we are in a new situation and don’t have knowledge of what is going to happen we become anxious, sometimes confused, maybe even frightened. Our first and only thought is get me out of here now! That’s exactly the way a child feels on his first day of school if he is not prepared.
Parents need to create social situations so a child can learn to play alongside or with another child. Sharing is developmental but it can be encouraged. If your child is a ‘Kling-on’ drop him off at a grandparent’s house or leave him with a neighbor or friend that you trust. Even if you only take a walk around the block your child needs to know that there are environments other than home that he can feel safe. More importantly he needs to know that Mommies and Daddies always come back.
I had a two year old that did not speak English in one of my classrooms. She had never left her mother’s side and I mean that literally. The child would not even go to her father. On the first day of preschool the child had a major meltdown. The child was inconsolable and rightly so. The mother did not prepare her child for the new environment. They had to take a few steps backwards before they could go forward.
A Few of Our Recommendations for Our New Families
- Attend playgroups, mommy and me classes and arrange play dates.
- Leave your child with friends and family members for short periods of time.
- Always say good bye and that you will be back, no sneaking away.
- Share books and videos with your child about preschool.
- Talk to your child, give them language, speak to them in English.
- Practice saying goodbye even if you only go into another room.