When young children start preschool or kindergarten, there are so many new aspects to their life that it can be overwhelming. And being away from Mom and Dad and home is one of the hardest for some children to adjust to.
In order to soften the entry and create a less stressful environment for your child, here are four suggestions you can try:
To let your child know what to expect, have her pretend to be the parent while you act as the child. Go through all the motions of the first day of school: waking you up, getting you dressed, feeding you breakfast, dropping you off and finally, picking you up.
2. Find some friendly faces
See if you can find one or two other kids that will be in your child's class and set up a playdate before school starts. It'll give you a chance to get to know some fellow parents and will help acclimate your little one to his new surroundings. If your child starts fretting about preschool, remind him that he will see his friends there.
3. Read some books
Shannon Choe, founder of Premier Baby Concierge, says that fictional characters have a way of making difficult situations easy since they always have a happy ending. The stories can give your child a natural opportunity to share any fears, and often have key kid-friendly phrases that parents can re-use to reassure their children. Here's a few to choose from: I Love You All Day Long, The Kissing Hand, Go Home, Mrs. Beekman and The Night Before Kindergarten.
4. Create a special goodbye ritual
Whether it's a silly handshake or a simple call-and-response phrase like, "See ya later alligator/After a while crocodile," find something unique to do as you say your goodbyes. Mira Jacob, Yahoo! Shine's parenting editor, says the repetition translates into comfort, letting your kid know that they are in a situation they've been in before. Plus, "It also gives you a firm exit point," she says.