Preschoolers and Anxiety
Starting preschool is a major milestone for both the child as well as the parents. This milestone is generally associated with lots of crying, as well as excitement on both sides. Unfortunately, this milestone is also generally linked to separation anxiety again on both sides, the parents and the child. The children are anxious as they do not know what to expect and it is their first time in a new environment which has a different set of rules and routines for them to get accustomed to. While on the other hand parents worry that the child may feel a sense of abandonment which is the sole cause of anxiety in parents.
Read through these points which can help ease into preschool for both you and your children.
- Be strong
The initial reaction of your children upon entering preschool will generally involve crying and them not willing to let go of you. What many moms do is, upon seeing that their child or children are crying they immediately come to their aid and sooth them or even at times decide to take them back home. We acknowledge that this is a big milestone and there is anxiety rooted in separation in both parties but you must be strong and let the child have a chance to get used to this new environment and start learning new it’s new rules and routines. We also suggest that to make the daily goodbyes easier for both the parents and the children, the parents must tell their children that they will be picking them up at the end of the day and then reinforce the same when they show up and make them understand that you kept your promise. How this helps is by making the children believe the parent will show up at the end of school and hence they will be more relaxed when being dropped off at school in the mornings.
- Communicate with the teacher.
Early learning for children is generally has a two-pronged approach, wherein they spend about half their day in preschool and the other half at home thereby making it mandatory for both the palace to work in unison for the benefit of the child. You as a parent must tell the teacher any information you deem relevant to the teacher which will enable her to better communicate with your children. It is also necessary for the teacher to know what technique is most effective to help calm your child. Also, take regular feedback from the teacher and work hand in hand.
- Comfort objects and their importance.
Every child has a favorite toy, blanket or even their daily Sippy cups with their favorite drink could be their comfort object. These comfort objects remind them of home and the emotions attached to the home, i.e. safety, security, and warmth. Having something which can calm you and reassure you when you are in a foreign environment is essential for children. They need to be relaxed and calm and overcome their anxiety in order for them to be in a state to learn new things and imbibe any knowledge the teacher is imparting.
- Leave gradually and not abruptly.
The separation is hard on both the parent and the child hence in order to ensure this process of separation moves smoothly it must be a slow and gradual process. We recommend that the mom stays with the child for the first ten days of preschool. The ten days is a general number and it is different for every child and hence it is essential that you decide base on how the child reacts. The mom is only to be an observer at the preschool and not engage with the child and the toys. Once you notice your child is busy with a certain activity that is your queue to leave. But before you leave, ensure that you bid goodbye and have a ritual which could be anything from a special handshake to a hug.
- Resist your urge to frequently check on your children.
Separation is hard but it generally gets easier for the kids once they start making friends and get busy with the various activities designed to keep them occupied. It is the parents who cannot resist the urge to check-up on their children from work or wherever it is they are. In order for your child to get accustomed to the new environment, he must learn to be independent and can do so if he is given the time and space.
- Refrain from comparing your child with other children.
It is if never a good idea to try and enforce a certain behavior or to try and prove a point to your child by comparing their behavior with that of other children. Recognize that your child is unique and that they will react to things differently. You have to be patient and soon you will find a way that will work with your child.