Unlike in the olden days, more and more parents are sending kids to preschool, hoping to get their children on track earlier. However, many parents aren’t fully aware that preschool can be daunting to some kids, hence the complications that arise on the first day, week or even month.
We recently spoke to owner of Trinity Kids Malaysia (an award-winning playschool, nursery and preschool), Daisy Ng to share with us some tips and tricks on making the preschool transition smoother for parents.
1. What is the most common situation that parents face on the first day of preschool?
Most children cry on the first day of school. Only a rare few will take it very smoothly, and that is mainly because of their extroverted nature or they are familiar with the environment already. The main reason behind the tears is due to the sudden-separation with mommy and daddy which is completely normal, and parents should not feel alarmed by it.
2. How do parents prepare their kids for the first day?
For us, we insist that parents bring their kids to visit the school before registering them. During the visit, both parents and children can fully understand and experience whether the school is suitable for them or not. Communication between teachers and parents is important to ensure the best possible treatment is given to the child. Ask your kid whether he or she likes the place, it is important to make them feel involved in the decision-making. Kids can visualize too, knowing the place and the people makes them feel more safe and trustable towards this new environment.
3. What should children bring in their bag for the first day?
Every school has different rules, but we usually recommend the necessities like diapers (if the child is not potty-trained), one or two spare outfits, handkerchief, and some healthy snacks just in case. We also recommend parents to get kids a little something, say a new water bottle to associate and look forward to starting school. However, we discourage kids to bring toys as it might create unnecessary conflicts with other kids.
4. How long should parents stay on the first day?
As a rule of thumb, generally we don’t recommend that parents linger because the mixed signals confuses children. Children need to clearly understand that mommy and daddy are not there in school. If parents stay because the child cries, they will see it as a strategy to use the next time they want mommy and daddy in sight. Parents need to be firm in saying goodbye and return on the promised time; they might cry but soon they will transfer attachment to the teaching assistants and adjust by themselves.
5. How long does it normally take for children to get comfortable with a new environment?
Usually within one week, but it differs with program and age. We find that full-day students tend to settle in faster. Ironically, very young children who starts before 2 years old can adjust faster, as compared to older kids who feel more emotions and have bigger emotional attachments.
6. How should parents cope with bullying in school?
First of all, the school should never condone bullying. With that being said, we have to also define what is bullying. Some kids can be mean, it could be the way that they were brought up that makes them less sensitive, but some kids tend to be really sensitive. Sometimes kids don’t know how rough they are, you just need to address it then and there, explain to them that it is wrong or it is okay.
7. Lastly, please share with us some tips parents could use when introducing children to preschool.
You can never underestimate how much your kid knows. The good old fashion way is to involve your kids, bring them to the new environment, and go with your gut feeling whether your child and other children look happy there before you make your decision. Every kid is different, it is important to identify whether the school’s system and the way it operates matches your kid’s personality. Once parents have made the decision, parents should trust the school as kids can feel parents’ feeling towards the school as well. What you say shapes a child’s experience.
Image credit: Trinity Kids Malaysia