Transitions are exciting opportunities for children to learn and grow. Parents and early childhood professionals share a role in making children feel safe and secure as they move to new educational settings. Of course, such milestones in children's lives can cause anxiety, too. Strengthening the ties between educational professionals and families will help create smooth transitions for both adults and children.Here are some tips to ensure children (and parents) adjust to the new routine quickly and effectively:
- Be enthusiastic about the upcoming change. If you are excited and confident, your child will be, too.
- Prepare yourself. Take note of how your child reacts to separation. If possible, visit the new setting together. Introduce your child to the new teacher or early childhood professional in advance.
- Arrange a play date with another child from the program, preferably one-on-one, so that your child will see a familiar face.
- Start daily routines that will add continuity. Let your child become involved with preparing for the school day (picking out clothes, etc.)
- Create a calm household routine with early bedtimes and peaceful mornings. If you have to wake your kids in the morning, they aren’t getting enough sleep. Kids who aren’t well-rested don’t have the internal resources to cope with goodbyes, much less the rigors of the school day. Start moving bedtime earlier every night by having him read in bed before lights out, which also improves his reading. And get yourself to bed early too, so you can deal calmly with the morning rush and get everyone off to a happy start.
- Plan ahead and provide time for the morning routine--don't rush. Talk to your child about what the plan for the day is. They will feel more confident if they know what to expect.
- Put aside extra time, particularly on the first day of school, for chatting and communing together. But remember not to prolong the goodbye. If your child whines or clings, staying will only make it harder.
- Always say goodbye to your child. Be firm but friendly about separating. Never ridicule a child for crying. Instead, make supportive statements like, "It's hard to say goodbye."
- At the end of the workday, put aside your concerns about your career and focus on being a parent.