Starting preschool is a big deal for both you and your child. Whether your child will be attending preschool nursery in Dubai or somewhere else, there is a good chance that everyone in the family will be experiencing a mix of emotions. To help you during this transition period, keep in mind these four mistakes to avoid when your child starts preschool.
1. Not preparing your child for a nursery
Before your child starts preschool, you want to make sure you are doing as much as possible to prepare them for this new step in their life. Make sure to take your child to visit the preschool, so that they can see for themselves what it looks like and what other children are doing while they are there. If you are allowed to, you could also take some photographs of the space, which you can then look at with your child in the days and weeks leading up to their first day. Alternatively, the preschool may have an orientation book that you can go through with your child.
Talk to your child about things they will do at preschool, from the children they will meet to the nursery classes they will attend. Don’t force the conversation; you don’t want your child to feel overwhelmed by it, but you do want them to be comfortable speaking about it. An excellent way to do this is by reading books about starting preschool.
Here is an article about signs that your child is ready for nursery.
2. Letting your anxiety get the best of you
There is no denying that starting preschool is a massive milestone for you and your child. And, while it can be an emotional period, you don’t want to let your own anxieties ruin the experience. For many parents, the leading cause of unease comes from the fear that their child will feel abandoned. This is why it is crucial to ensure you are entirely comfortable with the preschool you have chosen.
While it is natural to be worried about your child, you don’t want to let it take over your life. Separation anxiety is real, but eventually, you will get used to the new routine. Keep in mind that – most of the time– children stop crying as soon as their parent leaves and then they start having a great time!
If your child is suffering from separation anxiety, you still want to be consistent with helping them attend preschool regularly. This is essential to make going to preschool a regular part of your child’s routine. If you remove them as soon as you see an adverse reaction, you deny them the opportunity to discover how to fight through discomfort and negative emotions. What is more, it will set a precedent of not facing difficult situations, which can be detrimental to them in the future.
3. Ignoring the importance of routines
In addition to making “going to preschool” a habit, you should also implement other routines both before and after. Routines help your child feel safe and protected, especially when such a significant change is occurring.
It is a beneficial idea to set up the same cycle for preschool mornings. Perhaps you and your child could sit and make a chart together, which shows your morning routine step-by-step.
Similarly, create a “goodbye” routine. Every day, tell your child that you are leaving (don’t just dash out the door) and also tell them that you will pick them up at the end of the day. However, don’t drag out the goodbye; say it once, and then make your exit. Too many drawn-out goodbyes creates a lot of stress for both you and your child. And remember, a complete transition into preschool may take a couple of months.
4. Falling into the comparison trap
Train yourself to avoid comparing your child with others at all costs. Whether it is about separation anxiety, academics, or something else, try not to worry about what other children are doing and instead focus on your own child’s process.
Similarly, avoid telling your child about how they compare to their classmates. Again, keep your attention on esteeming your child’s progress and building them up so that they can have the best experience possible – on their terms. Celebrate your child’s achievements frequently by giving them praise and by urging them to tell another member of the family about it. The whole experience of preschool brings new challenges for your child, so you help to build their confidence and sense of competence by praising them.
Has your child recently started preschool? If so, what are the biggest challenges that you are currently facing? If your child is past preschool age, do you have any advice for other parents who are entering this transition period? Let us know your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments below. Also, get in touch with our trusted team of educators for more information on how the right nursery environment can be beneficial to your child.