The first day of preschool can lead to anxiety for a variety of reasons. They’re new to school, they’re not sure what to do, or they’re just excited about being in a new environment. No matter why they’re anxious, these 4 tips will help your anxious preschooler feel more comfortable and confident during their first year of preschool.
1: Validate your anxious preschooler’s feelings
Talk openly about being worried and explain that it’s a typical experience when we start new things. Anxiety is a normal and common feeling, but sometimes it can be hard for kids to understand why they’re feeling anxious. Let them know that it’s normal to feel a little nervous at first and that there are plenty of people here who will help them feel comfortable and safe.
2: Help your anxious preschooler get their bearings
Make sure the know how the classroom works. Where is their cubby? Do they know where to hang their jacket? Do they start their day — on the playground? In circle time? Is it time for free play at the sensory table? A big part of feeling comfortable during their first year is having space to relax and get settled in.
3: Help your anxious preschooler connect with others
One of the best ways to help anxious preschoolers connect with others is by role modeling that connection. Introduce yourself to other children in the class and then introduce your child. Don’t answer for your child, give them room to do their own talking. Step away if needed to give the kids space to begin navigating their own relationship.
4: Celebrate together at the end of the first day
Since anxiety can lead to low self-esteem, it is important for parents to help their children build self-esteem through positive reinforcement and encouragement. Praising your child for hanging in there even though they felt afraid. Help them connect with their success — they made it through the first day! It’s all easier from here on out!
I hope that these tips will help your anxious child feel more comfortable and confident during on their first of preschool.