If your child is starting preschool and having difficulty with the new routine, follow these strategies for saying goodbye without tears.
By Ronnie Koenig
The start of preschool is a milestone that's often anticipated with great excitement and joy, but also with lots of crying, uncertainty, and heel digging -- from both kids and parents! "For children, the main source of anxiety around entering preschool is that they have absolutely no idea what to expect," says Katrina Green, a certified early childhood and early childhood special education teacher at the Just Wee Two program in Brooklyn, New York. "They have spent the first three to four years learning the rules and routines of their family life and they are completely unfamiliar with the new rules and routines they will encounter. For parents, the main source of separation anxiety is worrying that their child will feel abandoned." Read on to learn the best ways for you and your child to ease the separation anxiety and to successfully start this new adventure -- together and apart!
Many moms may see their child have a bad first reaction to preschool and immediately decide to pull him out of the classroom. But that's a bad idea: "It denies the child an opportunity to learn how to work through negative feelings and sets a precedent of not having to face problems," Green says. Instead, consistency is key when it comes to making preschool a part of your child's new routine. Simply going together on a regular basis will provide your little one with a strong sense of anticipation. Keep your goodbyes short and sweet so that your child knows what to expect but doesn't prolong your departure. When you pick him up at the end of the day, reinforce the idea that you came back, just like you said you would. This way, each day's drop-off won't feel like you're both starting teary and upsetting goodbyes all over again.