If you are enrolling your child in preschool this fall, then you should expect some issues with separation anxiety. Just as adults often feel uncomfortable about new situations, the same can be said for preschool-age children as well. Thankfully, problems with separation anxiety are short lived and usually by the second or third week of school the issue should resolve itself.
To lessen your child's separation anxiety during the first couple weeks of preschool, follow these important tips:
Tip: Understand Your Feelings About Preschool are Different than Your Child's
While it is natural to feel uneasy about dropping off your child at a new school, it is important that you don't share those feelings with your preschooler. A preschool is an exciting place where your child gets to increase their educational abilities and learn to play well with other children. You should convey this message to your child instead of conveying your own feelings of inadequacy or guilt about not having your child with you.
Tip: Visit the Preschool and Take Pictures Before School Starts
Since a single initial visit to the preschool isn't enough to make your child feel excited and secure about attending for the first time, you should take photos of the preschool, one like Small World Early Learning & Development Center, during your registration appointment. Take photos of:
- the preschool's building exterior
- your child's classroom
- your child's new storage cubby
- your child's new teacher
In addition, take photos of the preschool's playground. Put these photos into a small photo book. Every night when your child goes to bed, bring out the special preschool book and review the photos with your child. This will help to familiarize your child with their new school and will help them feel more comfortable being there when school starts in the fall.
Tip: Do Not Sneak Away to Make Dropping Off Easier for Yourself
Finally, while you might think it would be easier for everyone if you sneak out of the room while your child is occupied with another child or toy, this is never a good idea. Instead, you should tell your child that you are leaving and give them the time that you will return. As the days pass, each time you leave, remind your child of the time you will return. If your child is concerned that you might not ever come back for them, then you can remind them of all the other days you returned as promised.