Think about the goodbye.
Plan how you will do this in your own mind. Decide in advance how long you will stay but balance that with reading your child’s cues as you arrive at the preschool. Wait a little until your child is getting interested in something. When you say goodbye a little rhyme or routine here is helpful. I knew a Mom who would draw a heart for her child before she left and that was part of their goodbye routine. Use your imagination and have some fun with it. Do a high five, a hug, a secret handshake or make a silly face. Here’s a rhyme you could use: “Blow a kiss jelly fish, wave goodbye, butterfly.
Do it with a smile on your face. Do not rush your goodbye but do not over stay. Find the balance. Be sure you do say goodbye. I know it is very tempting when you see your child busy and occupied to just go without saying goodbye. This is not a good idea because you can damage the trust in your relationship. By saying goodbye each time your child will feel safe and loved. You can also let your child know that you will be back. This is a really helpful message for your child to hear.
At home you can play games like peekaboo or hide and seek. This helps your child understand that you will come back.
Tears If there are tears, then you can trust the early childhood educator to comfort your child. Preschool teachers have lots of practice with this situation and we have many strategies to help children quickly over the goodbye hump. If your child is upset when you leave and you do not get a phone call to follow up then call the preschool back and check on your child. Most teachers will be honest with you about how they are adapting. If you develop a trusting relationship with the educator at the preschool then you will know that they will call if you are needed.
If you missed part one of this series you can find the post here and at the end there is a link to part two.
For more information read Helping your child adjust to preschool
Stay tuned for future posts on separation anxiety…