Starting preschool is such an exciting phase in your child’s life, as she moves into a totally new environment. Yet, excitement can easily turn to anxiety – and before you know it, your child is clinging to you, not wanting to let go.
Few children separate from Mum and Dad at the start of preschool without showing some concern. This can range from wanting an extra hug as Mum leaves her for the first time, to having a flood of tears as soon as her parent tries to go out the door. These reactions are normal; they should be expected in the early days.
Tears at parting are not a sign of emotional insecurity and is usually only temporary, especially if this is the first time you child has been separated from you. You will probably find, though, that within an hour or two – even on that first day – the lure of the kindergarten’s activities proves too great for her and she begins to edge away from you to sample the new play opportunities.
Here are some other facts discovered by psychological research on a child’s anxiety when he starts preschool:
– Tears at separation are strongest in the first two weeks; in most instances, a child’s distress declines after this short period.
– The need to cling to you when starting preschool does not mean your child will have emotional difficulties later on.
– A child who changes preschool may have anxieties about starting anew again even though she is already used to leaving her parents.
– In many instances, a child’s normal distress when starting preschool can last up to four or five weeks before it eases.
– One study found that children who took time to settle in were more alert, curious and assertive once they felt at ease.
Here are some suggestions to stop those early “teething troubles” from becoming major problems: