The first day of Montessori preschool will be a larger deal to your child than you. If this is their first time in a school environment, they’ll likely feel anxious. To ease their anxiety, help them become familiar with their new school, teachers, and classmates before the first day. The more they know what to expect, the less anxious they’ll be, as a large part of anxiety is fear of the unknown.
Your preschooler’s anxiety stems from spending most of their life at home
If your child finds themselves suddenly dropped off at an unfamiliar location, they can develop separation anxiety. This is why their first time at school shouldn’t be on the first day, when they’ll spend hours away from you. Ask your Montessori preschool team if there are any gatherings hosted by parents or the school before school starts. This can familiarize your child with the people they’ll be spending time with, as well as give them several friendly faces to look forward to seeing again.
Once your child knows their classmates and teachers, preschool will begin to feel familiar. If you can’t meet anybody before the first day, try to arrive early enough to introduce your child to new faces with you at their side. You’ll be a familiar face they can turn to if they get overwhelmed. Afterward, you can schedule playdates to help them build friendships through cooperative activities and exciting circle games.
You’ll make anxiety worse if you act like preschool is time-sensitive
If your child sees you stressing about time, they’ll be extra anxious. Not only are they in a new environment, but they have to worry about new faces and beating the clock. Young children can easily get overwhelmed. Reduce how much they have to worry about so they don’t associate preschool with stress. If your child continues to be stressed out, you can look into getting professional help to ease their separation anxiety.
Turn Montessori preschool drop-off and pick-up into a routine
Once preschool becomes a routine, your child will have significantly less anxiety. The quickest way to turn preschool into a routine is by getting rid of the unknowns. Teach your child what to expect during a regular preschool day, and encourage them to practice gearing up for school. You could also do a practice drop-off on a non-school day. Once school’s in session, have a routine for pre- and post-school. Pre-school would include breakfast and tying their shoes, while post-school would include putting away their things upon arriving home.
The more your child knows what to expect, the less painful their drop-off.