5 Tips to Prevent Preschool Anxiety to First-time School Kids
Not all youngsters are all that jumpy and excited for school. In every first day of preschool, you can spot 1 to 3 kids (heck, maybe all of them!) crying for mom or dad to please stay beside them in class! Sometimes the anxiety is overwhelming, some kids throw up or launch a full blown tantrum. The reality of unfamiliar kids and teachers can heighten a toddler’s emotions. Sometimes even parents are not ready for this transitional phase in their kid’s childhood.
Not so pleasant picture, isn’t? Where was Barney (and Friends!) to warn us? 🙂 Take heart, moms and dads. There is a way to prevent the grand meltdown of our first-time preschoolers. Based on research and experience, you can employ the following techniques to ensure your child enjoys her first day in preschool class.
Tip #1: Squash the unfamiliar before classes start
One strategy you can do to ease your child’s first-day fears is to do an orientation of how school works. Talk to your child at his level and discuss what he can expect to find and do in class. You can also try giving him school-based activities at home like coloring on paper. This way, the same crayons, paper, and activity will not be unfamiliar to him when he does this in class.
Mommy Maan Adviento-Deacosta tells us how they prepared their little nursery kid Miguel for school:
“We prepared him sa bahay like mag role playing kung ano ba nangyayari and activities sa school. And tinour namin sya sa school bago namin i-enroll. Naging effective naman.”
During enrollment season, you can go ahead and introduce your child to his teacher, let him explore his designated classroom, and talk to him while on a journey to and from the school. If you’re opting for a school bus, request the school to place your kid in the bus where more Kindergarten pupils are. This tells your kid, “Hey all the little kids are here just like me!”.
All these water down the anxiety brought about by the unfamiliar during the first day of class.
Tip #2: Take the kid to your back-to-school shopping day
School supplies, no matter how small they seem, have a psychological effect on children. Aside from the excitement, it tells them they have something they can look forward to doing the whole year. It also builds confidence because they see their parents took the time to buy or prepare school supplies for them.
National Book Store is the country’s #1 Expert in Back to School shopping. Enjoy a wide variety of school supply brands, and designs at affordable prices. We have specific shopping zones for every product type, and segregated our shelves per grade level (Kinder to College). This way, you can easily spot and shop for your school supply needs.
Tip #3: Go for trial classes or play schools first
Some parents take advantage of trial classes in the summer. This is like a litmus test to see if your child will want to keep showing up once the school year rolls around.
Arlene Cheryl Calleja – Oting, mom of a preschooler advises to:
“Try a play school instead of a traditional preschool. Merong preschool inside our subdivision. They were offering free classes ng summer. After two days, ayaw na pumasok ni toddler. I saw an ad in FB for a play school — we tried that and my son enjoyed it. Three times a week lang, two hours per class. One year na sya dun and ready for big school na!”
One more thing to take note of:
Kids are sensitive to their parents’ disposition. If he senses that you are unsure of your decision about sending him to school, the child will pick up and this can adversely affect his own feelings about it, too. So before thinking if your child is school-ready, it helps to do a self-evaluation so you can be more effective on his first day.
Tip #4: Team up with Teacher on the First Day
On the first day of class, reintroduce the teacher to your child. This endorsement reinforces feeling of safety and assurance in your child. Let the teacher start building a relationship with your child after this.
If your child clings to you and refuses to join the class, simply reassure him or her that everything will be alright and that you will be watching him or her in class.
- Don’t be angry at your child during this adjustment period as this will simply worsen the situation.
- Don’t try to sneak out because the child will only feel betrayed after.
- Choose to be soothing and kind, and leave with a loving goodbye to enhance pleasant feelings instead of anxiety.
- You can try doing a goodbye ritual – i.e. a friendly wave with a smile from the classroom door; leaving a comforting object like a family picture, or a favorite toy before you leave, etc.
- Kids also behave better: cooperating in class, obeying the teacher – when their parents leave.
Teachers say that kids simply go through a stage where they don’t even want to get out of the car to enter the classroom because that means being away from mommy. Most children overcome this after a few days or weeks, so just try to be more patient and supportive. If after 2 weeks to a month, the child is still unadjusted, it could mean that he or she is simply not yet ready for school. However, this is not an indication of a slower developmental progress. It has been proven that kids experience unique timings in their developmental milestones.
Tip #5: Build a daily routine
Kids thrive in routines because they know what to expect and anticipate the outcome at the end of each school day. The routine can start the night before. Changing into their jammies and reading a bedtime story at the right hour enables them to wake up energized and ready for school. If your child is a morning person, they maybe going for a morning schedule is ideal. If she likes to sleep in more, enroll for afternoon classes instead. Whatever makes it easier for your kid to slip into a school routine – go for it!
Once your preschooler is programmed to her daily schedule, she’ll find it easier to adjust and will soon look forward to going back to school!
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