The hardest part of sending your child off to school is leaving them. And we get that. Separation anxiety is very real and although we would love to see children come happily to school, we understand that it is a huge adjustment for them and it takes time to get used to a new environment.
For parents, it is also a hard adjustment. You are leaving your child for the day and as much as you’d like to just keep them at home, you know that this day would come eventually. Here are some tips for making the transition easier for you and your child.
Tip #1: Pre-Visits
You can bring your child to come see where the centre is and to get used to the route and the surroundings. You can come and walk by and talk to your child about the new centre being their new school soon. This will help familiarize them with the centre ahead of time.
Tip #2: Good-Bye Routine
When you drop off your child in the morning, it is best not to linger around as your child may think you will stay. It is best to have a quick drop-off with a quick good-bye routine. This could include helping them take off their jackets and changing their shoes and then getting a hug or kiss good-bye. This can be challenging as you may see tears and struggles from your child, but it is best to keep the routine short and quick so that they will get used to the good-bye routine and understand that that is the time you will leave them. And always leave in a positive way, which helps children associate leaving with something good and not the other way around.
Tip #3: Keep Your Promises
Sometimes, you may promise your child something to ease their anxiety (and crying) such as you promising a treat when you pick them up or that you will be the one picking them up. You may also promise to bring their favourite toy from home when you do pick them up. Please remember to keep your promises you make. This will reinforce the feeling of trust, comfort and consistency. Your child will feel better in knowing they have something to look forward to at the end of the day.
Tip #4: Stick To Your Routine
For consistency and incorporating feelings of security, it is best to have the same morning and afternoon rituals and routines with your child. For example, taking the same route to school, arriving and departing at the same times every day and having the same person picking up or dropping off your child are helpful ways to sticking to a routine.
Tip #5: Be Patient
Understand that this is a process and it will take time for both sides to get used to the new routine, but once your child is adjusted, those days of crying will be a thing of the past. Getting accustomed to any new environment will take time so be patient. Your child will love it soon enough!
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