How to make your toddler comfortable with going to a school? 26 Mar 2022 Jayshree Guha Thakurta, Vice-Principal, Vega Schools

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Going to school is the first major step to weaning from ‘home’ to another place called ‘school’ and from ‘mother’ to ‘another adult’ the facilitator/learning leader/teacher to bond with. This is a major milestone in the life of any toddler.

It may sometimes come with lots of crying, uncertainty, and ‘heel digging’. Often, the main source of anxiety is around having no idea about the new space and new people after the first few years of their cozy life with their parents.

Since starting preschool is such a new experience, it should not be seen as just another date in the calendar to be remembered.

I would suggest parents take several weeks before the first day to school to ease the child into this new most amazing adventure called school.

Preparing children for Preschool

Explain the routines of preschool

Talk to your child about the games she will play, the friends she will meet, and how you will meet them to share the happy experience. Never overhype school, and never make promises about things you cannot control (like making new friends). If your child's initial experience does not match his expectations, school may already seem scary and not exciting.

Meet the teachers

Schools always organise an open house, where parents, teachers, and children can get to know each other. Wait patiently and make sure you get a chance to chat with her when your child is within the hearing range and watching you. It is all about ‘Trust’.

Visit the school

Before the school year, take your child around the classroom and explore different spaces and activities. You may just be driving by the school and casually point it out to the child to create familiarity in comfort. 

Set up playdates before the school opens

Seeing familiar faces in the class will increase your child's comfort level.

Keep a positive mindset

Children closely watch parent’s expressions, sense feelings and listen attentively. So be calm and confident. Avoid statements like “are you scared?” instead reassure gently.

Role play

‘ Pretend’ play with soft toys around home about going out like parents do returning with excitement and bag full of experiences comes a long way in settling children.

Read books

Read stories from their favourite story characters (Winnie the Pooh, Clifford or Peppa Pig stories) about ‘First day to School’ describing what happens at school, children’s feelings. This is like a familiar dry run in their comfort zone.

 Bye! Bye! ritual

The bye should be quick and not adding sentiments to it. A prolonged, stretched Bye! Bye! May make children think and make them anxious. A long farewell scene might only reinforce a child's sense that preschool takes parents away for a certain time.

Don’t sneak away

Never sneak, or lie to the child in the fear of making the child anxious. Mothers should never be separated from the child suddenly, because of her professional commitment or as a process to settle the child. Parents are a safety net.

Never make comparisons

The child who never cries when the parents leave. Crying at every separation for a while helps work with feelings.

These skills will go a long way in developing Social Emotional skills in toddlers.

With these best practices, the child will happily settle in a pre-nursery, nursery school or a kindergarten.

By applying these ideas, your toddler will be well prepared for the Best Schools of Gurgaon.

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