Daycare and pre-school can be necessities, as most parents have careers, and it can be difficult to work with a toddler on your arm. They can be tremendously beneficial for children, as organizations like the International School Psychologists Association have recognized how preschool programs can prepare a child for school and improve the development of various skills, including communication and social skills.
However, the transition from home to a daycare can be very difficult for children who haven’t spent much time out of the house. Parents can help by understanding a child’s apprehension and taking a few simple steps to prepare their children.
Schedule a walk through of the facility. Before bringing a child to a pre-school or daycare, it can be a very good idea to get them acquainted with the environment. The Department of Education recommends making a visit to a preschool to evaluate it, so bring your child along. A walk through can help to allay your child’s fears and anxieties about school and it can also provide an opportunity for parents to check out a pre-school facility’s staff and layout.
Encourage the child to ask questions and explain as much as you can. The staff will undoubtedly approach your child at some point during your visit, so use the opportunity to help your child become more comfortable with staff members.
Get your child used to discipline and communication. According to a fact sheet from the National Association of School Psychologists, young students are much more successful and accepting of a school if they have set boundaries to draw from. The NASP recommends establishing consistent discipline before bringing a child to a daycare facility.
The staff should be informed of your disciplinary methods in order to remain consistent. For instance, if you use “time-out” to punish your child’s extreme behavior, the daycare or preschool may have a much easier time if they use “time-out,” too. Of course, they’ll need to be consistent in how they discipline all of the children that they’re caring for, but if you can coordinate your discipline, children may adapt more quickly.
Teach good communication skills. The NASP also recommends encouraging strong, clear communication. Many children become frustrated or anxious at preschool and daycare facilities because they’re not able to communicate with adults as well as they’d be able to communicate with their own parents. You can help by insisting on clear, full sentences and encouraging a child’s verbal development by reading to him every day.
Establish rituals Change is difficult for adults, too, and we’re usually able to rely on a routine to help us cope with the stress of a new job, a new relationship, or another major life change. Children can benefit from the same approach.
Develop a morning ritual that encourages self-confidence. Tell the child that you love him and talk frequently about how exciting and fun school can be. A simple morning ritual can make a transition to a daycare a much simpler and worry-free process for both children and their parents.