For both you and your child, the thought of your child’s first day at nursery or preschool can be a scary proposition. However, following our recommendations will help to ensure that their first experience is a positive one.
Give opportunities to boost confidence
Learning to socialize with other children is a skill they must gradually develop, and some children will find it more difficult than others. However, it is far less intimidating for them to begin preschool if you can introduce them to the principles of sharing and taking turns before they start. Expect nothing spectacular at first – until they are around three years old, children usually prefer to play alongside one another rather than together as a group.
Moreover, while you do not need to stand over young children as they play, you do need to be close by in case they begin to dispute over toys. In the absence of a network of other parents with children of the same age as yours, participating in a parent and toddler group is an excellent method to introduce your child to social situations while keeping an eye on them at all times.
Visit the setting
To make an informed decision about a preschool, such as a Cognia Accreditation preschool, we recommend visiting the place without your child the first time. The next time take your child with you and see how they respond to the environment and watch how the providers interact.
It would help if you were encouraged to bring your child for as many familiarisation visits as you believe they require. Some preschools will enable you to leave your child for brief periods without observing how they adjust to their new environment. When you come home, make encouraging remarks about the school, the activities, the other kids, and the teachers. Before your child begins, talk about any fears or concerns they may be experiencing.
Look at books together
Visit your local library and check out a few books on how to get your child started in preschool or nursery. Then, talk to your child after you have finished reading them about all the great activities they might be participating in at preschool, such as riding bikes outside, painting pictures, playing with sand and water, creating models, singing rhymes, baking cakes, and constructing with blocks.
Don’t worry if they take a while to settle in
For some children, the experience of entering preschool is stressful, and they are unable to settle down even after a few weeks of attendance. Do not be concerned or blame yourself; instead, understand that children are all unique people and that your child will arrive at their destination in the end.
Find out from your child’s key worker what will happen once you have left them in charge. For example, do they continue to scream uncontrollably during the session, or do they brighten up 10 minutes later when a game or other distraction diverts them?
Consider increasing the number of sessions gradually. Start with simply 30 minutes and gradually increase the length each week until they can stay for the entire session without your assistance.
Attempt to remain in the room with your child for the duration of the session, stepping away once he becomes involved in an activity but not leaving the room altogether.
It may be easier for some youngsters to relax if you keep your goodbyes quick – prolonging may make the entire process more difficult for you and your child.