Parenting Tips

First Day of Preschool – How to Deal with Separation Anxiety

First Day of Preschool – How to Deal with Separation Anxiety
June 7, 2019

Children mean the world to parents. You must have done a lot of research to find out the best preschool for your ittle bundle of joy. Are you excited about the first day of preschool for your child?

You feel happy but feel scared too as your child will get separated from you, though for a short duration only. Suddenly all those feelings start making rounds in your mind and you start thinking how your child will manage
without you. Will he cry because of being away from you? Will he feel scared after finding him between unknown faces? Will he cry more when he sees other kids crying around him? Will he have food without you? Will he drink even water? So many similar thoughts take over your excitement on the first day of Preschool.

This is most probably for the first time you are getting separated from your kid for a long stretch of time. It’s difficult for you but it’s even more difficult for your child.

Screaming and crying are normal for kids for initial days of preschool. They will take some time to adapt to the new environment and gradually they will stop crying.

In this article, we will discuss on some tips to ease the first day anxiety for kids. We will also discuss how you can help them to adjust in the new environment.

1) Spend plenty of time in the preschool on the first day of your child

Almost everybody, including the teachers will ask you to say bye and leave as soon as possible. But you don’t want to do that. This is not something that is going to help in the emotional and psychological development of your child. This is exactly opposite of almost everyone’s views. Children learn through observation. Your kid will have a lot of questions after being left without you. Who are these unknown people? Your toddler would start getting panicked. What else can you expect from such a small child?

It’s beyond their capability to understand the reason for you leaving from the preschool. They are scared of new people too. Separation anxiety is a trait that is inbuilt in human beings. This made young babies to be with their moms since long in order to survive. Separation distress system in the lower brain is genetically programmed to be hypersensitive. Adults will learn to check this system and bring it under control with development of their frontal lobes which is achieved in our mid-twenties.

For a toddler, crying and panicking is absolutely normal. Even though it is normal, it never means that we should just ignore it. The child feels the pain after getting abandoned and the pain is like physical pain. We should not ignore a child’s pain from separation. Parents are responsive to their child’s distress and hence they link to better development of the child. Consistent responsive parents lead to faster social and cognitive development of young

However, there might be a few children who will not suffer from severe separation anxiety. If they are preconditioned and told about preschool, they will not fear much. It’s important for you to tell them what a pre-school is and why they need to go to their preschool daily.

In such a case, you just need to tell your kid about your return timing and do return on time exactly as you promised. The children, who are very young, will definitely have harder time as it becomes difficult to explain theme verything. Help them more as they need more help.

2) Hug you child several times

During situations of distress, our brain triggers the release of cortisol – a type of stress hormone. Hugging releases oxytocin, a feel good chemical that diminishes the levels of cortisol. Your constant hugging makes your child feel good. So, keep hugging and holding your child during first day of their reschool.

3) Say bye while leaving and promise the time to return

Don’t disappear suddenly from there. Talk to your child and explain that you will coming to the preschool to take them back to home with you. They must be well informed that you are leaving and will come back at a certain time. If you sneakily disappear from the scene, your child may lose trust on you.

No sneaky disappearance – sneaky disappearance may make the parents feel better because they don’t have to face the child’s devastating cries then. But to the child, being abandoned damages the child’s trust in you. So always say goodbye before you leave to build trust. Some parents develop a goodbye routine to make the departure slightly easier and more fun (e.g. goodbye song, goodbye handshake, etc.)

Point to the clock and let him know when you will return to pick him up (and mean it!) even if your child doesn’t know how to read the clock yet. It’s important that he knows you will return at a certain time.

4) Ask a teacher to hold your child:

Due to busy schedules, sometimes it’s not possible for the parents to remain for an extended period of time in the. Even if you see that your child is yet to be calmed down, request a sensible teacher to hold your child. Ask the teacher to talk to your child and calm him/her down. Always remember that young children are not able to regulate their emotions well and they need external support to do so. Hence, never leave your child crying alone.

5) Pick your child early during initial days of Preschool

Pick your kid early on the very first day itself. For next few days, gradually increase the time of his stay in the preschool and finally he/she can be there for the full day. A child can be sad and distressed even if he is not crying. Children, who look alright as they are not crying, end up not receiving any type of comfort that they need affecting their well-being adversely. So, even if your child has stopped crying, it’s better to bring them back to home early from preschool.

6) Encourage your child and stay positive

Always be an encouraging and positive parent even if your child is not showing best behavior. The child should feel hat going to preschool daily is a good thing and he/she must take it as a positive experience. Preschool is not a place, where your child will be punished, criticized or reprimanded for his/her normal behavior.

Now that you have this guidance regarding first day of preschool of your kid, we are sure that you will be able to handle the situation in the best possible manner. Take a deep breath, bring a smile on your face, hug your child and get set to defeat first day anxiety of your kid. Enjoy the experience of sending your child to his preschool.

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