It Will Be Okay. I Promise!

They only cry for a little while and once they see the other children playing and running around, they want to do it as well. What am I talking about??? PRESCHOOL! This week some of you may have become Preschool Parents for the first time.
As a seasoned educator, I know first-hand that parents make it worse by standing around waiting for them to stop crying. It is natural to want to protect your child from any and everything including that "horrible Preschool Teacher"! LOL But seriously, I understand that it is very difficult as a parent to leave your child with staff all day while you have to work instead of being a parent. I have been both a parent and the receiving Preschool Teacher. The beauty of Preschool teachers is that we are trained in Early Education which is a specialized area in nurturing, caring, and encouraging young children. Preschool teachers want to encourage your children to be independent; they do this by providing a very nurturing and caring environment where your child can flourish and grow in a developmentally appropriate way. Simply stated, they know what they are doing, they are the experts. Don't stand around and give the staff the side eye because your baby is crying; crying is a method of communication for most toddlers, they cry to get your attention. Therefore, when they cry, acknowledge them and remind them that you love them and it time for school but you will be back. Sometimes, as parents, we cry as well. I know when I first left Preon at Preschool, I cried all the way to school myself. I had to visit the restroom and get myself together before going into class. It's okay to feel sad and unsure, but remember, you researched this school and you decided it would be the best fit for you and your family so allow the staff to show you that they "got it".
May I also suggest that children who have ONLY been in the care of their parents for the first few years should only attend Preschool for half day the first couple weeks. Usually, you can arrange this with the Principal (Administrator). If they are having too difficult of a time separating from their mom (separation anxiety) half days will make the transition a bit smoother. It allows them to experience preschool a bit slower and its not such a shock to them.
I will share a few tips with you regarding Preschool so that you and your child have the best experience:

  • Reassure your child that you will return at a certain time to get them and keep your word by arriving in a timely manner
  • Make sure you talk to them daily about what they did at school. Ask what they ate, which games they played, what they learned, and if they made any new friends
  • Don't rush in the mornings; make dropping them off stress-less. For example, go inside their classroom and ask them to show you around. Be excited about their classroom and all the wonderful things in it
  • Form a rapport with the staff. Know ALL their names, greet them daily and take time to ask how your child is adjusting. Let them know you are involved and you do know their names!
  • Meet the Principal and know their name as well
  • Volunteer in the classroom during the school year
  • Share milestone events that happen at home with the teacher so that they are able to make notes and properly assess the developmental growth of your child
  • Make sure the staff is aware of any allergies your child may have
  • Label jackets, coats, and sweaters with your child's name; they have a tendency to get legs and walk
  • Begin a regimen of daily vitamins for you and your preschooler as Preschoolers have cooties! (smile)
  • Attend Back-to-School Night and all Parent Conferences. Be involved in your child's education
  • Donate items needed in the classroom for special projects
  • Look for the posted lesson plan and Parent Communication Board for the latest Classroom News
  • Be kind to the staff every now and then with donuts and coffee or a $5.00 gift card just to say thanks. A little goes a long way; teachers are very under appreciated and sometimes they need to know someone cares
  • Read to your child EVERY night for at least 20 minutes
  • Prepare yourself for the wonderful changes that are in store for your little one as they become more confident, independent, and mature. Language is a huge part of their development so give them lots of it!
May you and your Toddler have the best school year possible. Remember, College Begins in Preschool!

Until we chat again...