For many parents leaving their child at school for the first time is an emotional roller coaster. They may feel excited and delighted that their child will start school but also feel apprehensive about leaving them. In my experience as a teacher and director for young children, many parents have a much more difficult time leaving their child at school then the child has in going. It is quite often that I have seen moms (and dads too) go out the front door with tears in their eyes.
As a parent, it is natural to feel a sense of loss when you separate from your child, just as the child does. It is best to prepare your child, and yourself, for the separation. Read books about going to school with your child. For example, Molly Goes to Preschool.
Do your research and find a preschool or daycare center you will feel comfortable leaving your child in. I recommend to my new parents to visit the school a few times with your child to help them become familiar with it. Start out with the child staying a shorter time without you for the first few times they go, then work up to the regular time.
I have created a list of what not to do as a parent when leaving your child for the first time at school. These are a few techniques that I recommend to my new families when they first start their child in the center.
- Cry in front of your child – it is better to stay upbeat and positive so your child will be less apprehensive about staying, (you can cry after you leave)
- Sneak out – it is better to say goodbye and let your child know that you are leaving and will be back soon
- Show your nervousness – your child is sensitive to your feelings and may pick up your discomfort and be worried and scared
- Hang around after you say good-bye – even if your child is crying, it only prolongs the separation
- Apologize to your child for leaving them at school – this will send them a message that you are doing something wrong
- Miss days of attendance – except if the child is ill. It is best to establish a routine so the child can get use to going to school consistently
- Let your child manipulate you. Children can learn to manipulate you at a young age and make you feel guilty when they cry. Understand that they are scared, but assure them they are safe and you will return to get them.
This list may help the transition to school go a little more smoothly. Most of all remember that you are the parent and you know what is best for your own child.
- How to Ease Children into School With Books (authorcindyandrews.wordpress.com)
- How to Choose a Preschool Program (preschoolinspirations.com)
- How to Find Good Day Care for Your Infant (infantcaretip.wordpress.com)
- I’m Supposed to LEAVE? (dearcrissy.com)