Our little ones grow extremely fast and before you know it, the time to send them off to kindergarten will come. This is a significant milestone in any child’s life and a huge leap towards independence, so naturally, every child experiences it differently. While some may be excited to make new friends, others may experience anxiety in face of the changes that are to come. This is completely normal but you might still feel helpless, seeing your child stress over starting kindergarten. You cannot shield your child forever, but there are certainly strategies that can help you alleviate their anxiety. Here are a few tips!
Don’t shelter them forever
As we just said, you cannot protect your child from the outside world forever, nor should you. Shielding them from everything that makes them scared or stressed is only a short-term solution. It will just make their anxiety worse when these things eventually become inevitable. If you always remove your child from situations they don’t like, they will not develop the right coping strategies, which will make starting kindergarten bumpy. Instead, you should validate their feelings and help them deal with the situation. Talk to them openly and tell them how you manage anxiety and stressful situations. Allow them to develop their own strategies.
Let your child socialize from an early age
Similar to the previous point, there is another thing you should not shield your child from, and that is socializing. Letting them interact with other children from an early age will help them feel comfortable spending time with others, and therefore, they will feel less anxious about kindergarten. They will get to learn important social skills that will benefit them not only in kindergarten but throughout their whole lives. So, if you have friends or family members with kids, organize playdates frequently.
Introduce the topic
When the time to start kindergarten approaches, you should have a talk with your child. Explain to them why kindergarten is important and tell them about all the fun activities they will get to participate in. If they still exhibit anxiety, try not to make a big deal out of the first day. That way, they will not feel like their entire life is turning upside down. Simply tell them that they will get to make lots of friends who are also feeling the same way they are.
Choose a great kindergarten
To ease both your and your child’s anxiety, it’s important that you choose a kindergarten that you will be able to put your trust in. Early childhood education is the foundation for your child’s development, so help them grow and learn in a warm environment by picking the right establishment. For instance, daycare centres like the multicultural St Ives Chase Kindergarten provide a lot of hands-on activities that promote children’s cognitive as well as social development, making sure they will be ready when they start school.
Even if your child knows they will be in good hands, they may still feel anxious simply because they will be in an unfamiliar environment. You can help them feel more comfortable on their first day of kindergarten by letting them see the place ahead of time. Ask if it’s possible to take your child on a tour of the establishment. Most kindergartens will agree and your child will get an idea of what they can expect, which will make the transition smoother. They may even get excited about all the toys they see and look forward to returning as soon as possible.
Create a ritual
Another step you can take to help your child overcome their fear and anxiety of leaving for daycare is developing a ritual. Routines and rituals are extremely important for children as they serve as a sort of structure to their day. Creating a simple kindergarten ritual will both serve this purpose and be a fun activity that will ease your little one’s mind. You can come up with a special handshake, a phrase, or something of the sort. A healthy goodbye ritual will reassure your child, so don’t skip it!
Work together with the teachers
Finally, your child’s kindergarten teachers are going to play an important role in your child’s life from now on. Therefore, working together with them is another step you can take to make sure your child overcomes their fear and will be able to adapt to their new environment quickly and smoothly. Talk to the educators about your child’s interests and issues so that they know how to make your child feel comfortable. A good kindergarten will have reliable teachers with years of experience, so you don’t have to worry.
It’s normal for a child to feel anxious about such a huge milestone as starting kindergarten. Take the aforementioned steps so your child can feel reassured and ready to take on this challenge!