Starting preschool is a big step for a child, and parents can play an essential role in preparing their little one for this new experience.
There are many good reasons why your toddler should attend preschool. That’s not to say enrolling your tot into nursery school will be easy. When the day arrives for you to be separated from each other, tears will probably be shed, so we’ve sourced a few pointers to help ease you into the transition.
Ditch the guilt
Many moms (and dads) feel guilty sending their children to preschool. The reality is that at some point in the parenthood journey you will have to deal with letting go and the guilt associated with it. Maintaining the ever-elusive balance between parenthood and a career may seem complicated but is not entirely impossible. A fulfilling career provides income stability and positive image building for both parent and child and is an inevitable development in most circumstances.
How to help your baby make the transition
Plan ahead: If you’ll be returning to work, prepare yourself to spend the final few weeks of your maternity leave arranging for suitable childcare options. This could literally take several weeks as most daycare and nursery school facilities have waiting lists and careful screening of caregivers needs to take place.
When deciding on the right nursery school for your child, ask yourself the following:
- Does their caregiving align with your parenting style?
- Are they up to date with CPR/first aid training?
- Do they have Covid-19 safety measures in place/
- Are they able to set structure and routine?
- Can you communicate well with them?
Start slowly: Introduce changes gradually by trying to arrange short sessions during which your baby can start getting used to being left at the nursery school. It’s vital to keep caregivers in the loop regarding your baby’s feeding, sleeping, and playing routines.
Give them something they love: Ask the preschool teacher whether your child can bring something they love from home, like a teddy bear, pillow, or blanket. If the preschool allows this, these objects can help your child feel safer. You can gradually phase them out as your child feels more settled.
Address your concerns: Talk to your chosen daycare or nursery school facility on how they deal with medical emergencies such as choking, cuts, burns, and high temperatures. On this point, it would be of great value if the facility has up-to-date first-aid training and is able to produce a certificate to this effect. Nursery schools will probably require that you sign a consent form to enable them to administer any necessary medical care. Ensure a list of important telephone numbers the caregiver may need is made available. Include your work and mobile numbers as well as those of your partner, close relative, and GP. Remind yourself that these are all precautionary measures and that in reality, accidents and emergencies are a rare occurrence, if ever.
Establish a goodbye routine: Saying goodbye to your child at drop-off is not always easy. Even if your child is under one year old, get in the habit of letting your child know that you’re leaving and when she can expect you to return. This can help establish a line of communication and a bond of trust between you and your child.
Benefits of preschool
When you choose a preschool that suits your child and family, you can feel assured and at ease that your child is being well cared for, is enjoying activities, is making friends, and is building the knowledge, skills, and confidence they’ll need to thrive when they start big school.