Helping Your Child Cope with Kindergarten Anxiety
Starting a kindergarten is a change in routine like any other, and it can affect your child considerably. Some kids will react to the change positively, but that doesn’t mean that they will be free from anxiety and stress once they actually start going to kindergarten. Luckily, there are several ways you can make this transition easier for them, and even prepare them for starting school smoothly in the future.
Talk openly and share your experience
Talking to your child openly is essential step for various issues in their childhood. When it comes to kindergarten, you should allow your child to speak freely about the things that scare them and make them uncomfortable. Never assume what they’re going through because everyone is different. And once they confide in you, don’t treat their insecurities like they’re no big deal. For your kid, there’s nothing bigger at that moment. Instead, open up yourself and share your experiences and ways you combated nervousness on your first day of school or work. That way your kid will understand that being anxious is nothing bad and will feel appreciated and respected due to your approach.
Pay a visit to the kindergarten
This is a very important step in preparing your child for kindergarten and different environment if you want to prevent or at least minimize the accompanying anxiety. Basically, you should never leave your child at kindergarten before allowing them to experience it first. Such sudden change can really scare them. Instead, take a tour of the school and have the teachers greet you and talk to your child as well. It’s important to find early learning centre which encourage this practice since the initial contact makes the child more comfortable later on. Don’t miss the opportunity to talk about the kindergarten and things your kid noticed and liked once you get home.
Play school with other kids
This is especially important if your child is generally shy and has difficulty approaching other kids. You can easily get in touch with other parents and organize a playdate for everyone that will be in the same class with your child. Moreover, other parents will probably like that idea since they also have the same thing on their minds. That way, the kids can meet each other before they’re placed in a new environment. What’s more, make this playdate all about school. Let the kids pretend that they’re already in a classroom and make the whole school playdate fun and enjoyable for them.
Know how to say goodbye
Create a goodbye routine even before it’s time for your child to go to kindergarten. If you’re already openly talking about it and fears your child may have, don’t ignore the importance of discussing the goodbye routine either. This will help the kids relax a lot more. Basically, come up with special greetings and routines, and talk to your kid about what you’ll do and what they can do. That way, your child will be completely prepared and actually expect the goodbye.
It’s essential that you stay calm
Sometimes, the parents can be even more anxious about their kids going to kindergarten than the kids themselves. This is perfectly normal, and changes affect everyone, but try your best to remain calm in your child’s presence. Kids can detect your anxiety and stress, and if they already have some insecurities about going to kindergarten and on top of that notice yours, they can become really restless and scared – the complete opposite of what you want.
Adjusting to new routines and changes takes some time, so feel free to take things slowly yourself and allow your child to do the same. One additional practice that can make the adjustment period smoother and shorter is to let your child take a comfort object with them to kindergarten. This can be a toy, a bracelet, a photo, or anything else that doesn’t break the school’s rules and helps your child cope with the separation more efficiently.
Tracey Clayton is a full time mum of three girls. She’s passionate about fashion, home décor and healthy living. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”