Going to preschool that first day is a scary experience, but your brave child likely got through and is starting to adjust and make new friends. However, if your preschooler suddenly must change schools in the middle of the year, it can be even more difficult for them to transition because they have made friends and are finally comfortable with their surroundings. Don't let your preschooler's anxiety and fear prevent them from making a fresh start at a new school; instead, here are a few tips to help your child adjust to a new preschool:
Ask Your Current Preschooler Teacher for Help
Before you switch preschools, ask your child's current teacher for some advice and ways to help your little one's next teacher make the transition easier. For example, if your preschooler enjoys playing blocks, or if they don't like a certain snack food, ask the teacher to write these points down in a note for their next teacher.
Remember, even though you know your child better than anyone, their former and future preschool teachers have the skills and education necessary to help make your child's transition much easier on everyone involved.
Let Your Preschooler Say Goodbye
Before your child transitions to a new preschool, allow them to say goodbye to their old teachers and friends. Bring a snack to your child's school, or host a small gathering at your home on your child's last day. Plan a special activity that will commemorate your child's experience with their friends and teachers.
For example, set out paper and markers and ask each of the kids and teachers to draw a picture or write down a memory they shared with your child. Once everyone is done, collect the paper and share them with the group. Place the paper in a special box or folder and pull it out each time your preschooler begins to miss their old teachers and friends.
If possible, planning play dates with your child's former classmates and keeping in touch with their teachers will also help you child feel less lonely while they transition to their new preschool.
Tour the New Preschool
If your child has a serious case of first day jitters, Leah Davies, a contributor to Kelly Bear, recommends setting up an appointment to have your child tour their new preschool. While they are there, let your child explore, all the while making sure to point out all the fun activities that their new preschool has to offer.
If possible, introduce your child to their new preschool teacher. Encourage your child to ask questions, and don't be afraid to ask a few yourself. Allowing your child to become accustomed to their new environment will help demystify the transition. Your child might even get excited about their first day at the new preschool.
Celebrate the Transition
Finally, another great way to make the transition to a new preschool less frightening and more fun is to celebrate the experience. For instance, take your child shopping and let them pick out new school supplies and a new backpack. Their old supplies and backpack can either be donated or placed in a memory box that will allow your child to revisit their experiences at their old preschool.
The night before your child's first day at their new preschool, plan a fun activity, such as a pizza party or a trip to the movies. In addition to celebrating the transition to your child's new preschool, indulging in an enjoyable activity will also help keep their mind focused on fun, instead of the fear of their first day.
Transitioning your child to a new preschool can be stressful, on both you and your little one. Luckily, there are several simple things you can do to help ensure that your child looks forward to their first day at a new preschool. Talk with your old and new preschool center for more information, or find out more here.