Preparing for Your Child's First Day of Preschool

If your child is at the age of starting preschool and their first day is coming soon, you are probably feeling a wide range of emotions. The first days are bound to be nerve-wracking, whether it’s coming from you or your child. We know you want everything to run as smooth as possible which is why we’ve compiled six common mistakes parents often make that hinder their ability to have a good first day. We’ve also included three of our best tips to help with this day.

Mistake #1: Rushing in the Morning

We all know the dreadful sound of our alarm clocks going off in the morning, we instinctively turn over and hit the snooze button. This tiny action can greatly affect the rest of the day. If you don't leave enough time in the morning, it can turn into a rush which is guaranteed to escalate your morning stress. Running late in the morning can increases the discomfort and lead to a harder drop-off for your child. It prevents you from taking the time to drop your child off at preschool and celebrate their first day. Ensure you wake up a little bit earlier then normal as this can help ease the morning routine and allow you to get to preschool in a relaxed and calm pace.

Mistake #2: Dropping and Running

Oftentimes parents make the mistake of rushing the drop-off routine with their child at preschool. However, it is important to understand that the first initial drop-off at preschool will be the hardest for both you and your child. Parents should understand what separation anxiety and stranger anxiety is and how to prepare and incorporate it into the daily routine. Drop-offs should not be rushed but be treated as one of the most important parts of your day. This is where you say goodbye to your child and ensure them that you will be back to pick them up soon. By giving enough time in the morning to get your child settled in, it can help make them feel at ease. Lastly, it is important to remember to avoid long and teary goodbyes because when children see their parents cry it can make them feel like they are not safe and this sparks more worries.

Mistake #3: Being Too Nervous or Worried

Children are very smart and perceptive which is why it is important to be cautious of the way you act and speak around them. If you are showing signs of being extra nervous or worried around your child, they will likely be more nervous themselves. One easy way to help your child feel more comfortable is to have a nice conversation with the educator upon arrival at preschool. When your child sees you interacting with the educator, it can bring a sense of trust and make them feel more comfortable for when you leave.

Mistake #4: Detaching From Emotions

You, as a parent, will have a stir of emotions regarding your child starting preschool. Acknowledge these emotions as real and valid and not detach yourself from them. It is important to talk about your emotions and understand them so that you can guide your child to self-regulate their emotions. Be sure to not act in a zombie manner and suppress your emotions throughout the day. This can cause a bad impression on your child and they may have a harder time feeling comfortable and getting settled in. Act as you normally would and be as engaged in the whole process as you can.

Mistake #5: Micromanaging

While it is good to be invested and show you care for your child, avoid micromanaging, especially on their first day. When you are micromanaging a situation, you take full control and are often clouded with your own bias and judgment. Micromanaging on the first day of preschool can cause unpleasant experiences for the educator and the other children. It would be more beneficial for you to allow your children the freedom to make their own choices along the way, such as, which shoes to wear, which cuddle toy to bring to preschool, etc. Allow your educator to take control once you arrive at preschool. Try to avoid correcting or micromanaging the educator, you want to leave a good impression of yourself to the educator, other children, and other parents.

Mistake #6: Allowing Your Nerves to Get the Best of You

As humans, we are bound to get nervous from time to time especially when it involves change. When the first days are over we realize we were worrying for nothing all along. If you are feeling anxious about your child starting preschool, acknowledge this anxiety and don't ignore it. If you choose to ignore the feeling, it can create more stress and problems down the line. By acknowledging the feeling, you are able to take ownership of it and strive to maintain a positive tone for your child in preschool.

When it comes to starting preschool and having a stress free first day avoid these six mistakes. It can be daunting to leave your child, but remember that they are in good hands with the educator that you have chosen. If you want your child to have a good day project happy emotions and avoid making your child sad. Now we’re going to leave these mistakes in the past and give you three tips to help with the big first day.

Tip #1: Tour The Space

The space your child is entering is new and unfamiliar. New places tend to scare children making them likely to cry and be unwilling to leave your side. Stranger anxiety also may be present in children when they meet new people. This behaviour may come off as shy or even timid but it should be respected and taken with a light heart. It is important to create a safe environment a child by having them attend the tour with you and seeing the space and educator in person. In fact, during your tour, allow your child to play with some toys from the environment. This will help your child understand that this is a safe space to play and interact with the educator. It will also help ease some of those first-day jitters your child may face.

Tip #2: Bring Pictures

Our second tip is to use pictures to help ease the nerves of your child. Pictures can help children become familiarized with the childcare centre they are attending. After touring the centre, showing your child pictures can be beneficial. You can also take pictures with the educator and the space itself and later show it back to your child to help them be familiar and feel comfortable about going there. Not only is showing pictures before attending the cnetre important, pictures also play roles while children are attending the centre. the centre for the first day of preschool, bringing photos of your family is a good idea. It is important for you child to have your face to look at when they are missing you throughout the day.

Tip #3: Connect with Educator

Demonstrating a positive and friendly demeanour with the educator can help you and your child feel comfortable. Building rapport with your educator can help showcase that you trust and respect the educator and this will help your child do the same. Make sure to model the behaviour you want to see reflected onto your child. This is extremely important to do throughout the day and not just at drop-offs. These tips will definitely help your children with the transition process.

The three tips we provided that will make your first day better revolve around making your child comfortable with their childcare centre and educator before the big day. It is crucial that children are familiarized with their centre before their first day. If they are, it will make the drop-off process easier because children are going to a space they have already been in.