If this is the first time your child is off to a day care or preschool it can be a nervious time not only for the child, but the part as well. This is a time when both you and your child will face the issues of separation and independence. These are very normal feelings, but it is also a very important stage in your childs development. A child that is at the age of four or five years old will probably go off without much difficulty, but many children under the age of three have a very hard time with leaving their parents. Here are some ways to help make the transition a little easier.
The best way to help your child begin the transition is to begin talking with her ahead of time about what is to happen. You must also patiently reassure them. Begin preparing your child three or more weeks before the date that the preschool program or daycare center is to start. Be sure to take her with you on little trips to the facility and show her all of the other kids and the toys that she will be able to play with. Always be reminding her of your visits every day by asking her to remember how “fun” it all looked.
If your child is under the age of two, then it will be difficult to fully prepare her for what is ahead with her daycare time because of the lack of understanding your child will have at such a young age. Although she will not understand much of what you tell her, you can still describe whatever you think will interest her. But even though you may do your best in describing to your young two-year-old child what is to come, she will invariably have to experience the new program and the separation that goes along with it, first hand.
When that first day of school comes you will have to explain to her that you will have to leave her with the rest of the children once you get there. You may say something like “Amber, after we get to the classroom I am going to sit with you for a little while, but then I will have to leave and come right back after lunch time, ok?” Tell her what time you will be coming back and what the driving arrangements will be in case you are in a position where you are having somebody else pick up your child from school, perhaps another family member or a neighbor.
Be as patient as you possibly can during the first few days that you have to say “good-bye” to your child. Many children have such a difficult time that it may take up to thirty minutes and at least a dozen “bye-byes” until you are able to leave. And until she gets used to your leaving, each day will be just as traumatic as the last, for at least a week or so. This is where your practice of patience must come in. Do not threaten your child when she bursts out in tears and do not say anything like “Stop crying and be a big girl” or “Only bad girls cry, please stop it”. Your child needs support instead of pressure.