Starting Prep can be a stressful time. Particularly if your child experiences some level of separation anxiety.
Here are some great tips from the team at Kings Christian College to help alleviate those first-day nerves and separation anxiety problems:
Preparation is key
The more comfortable and familiar your child feels about school life, the more relaxed and less anxious they will be on their first day of Prep. There are many ways you can help them understand what to expect to reduce separation anxiety.
- Attend all Prep Orientation and ‘Meet the Teacher’ events run by your child’s new school.
- Some schools have playgroups that meet on the school campus. These provide an excellent opportunity for your child to become familiar with the school surroundings.
- Organise play dates with other kids starting school at the same time as your child.
- Get your child used to spending time away from you. This could be time spent with grandparents or attending a sporting activity. It’s important that they practise saying goodbye to you and have positive experiences away from you.
- Spend time playing ‘school’ together (this can be a fascinating insight into what your child is expecting). Read books to them about starting school and discuss the storylines.
- Take the journey to school together a few times and show your child where they will enter and be picked up.
- Go over the school routine with your child, so that they know what to expect. Young children often have no real concept of time. Outline a distinct beginning, middle and end, with checkpoints that punctuate the day, such as morning tea and lunchtime.
- Teach them how to ask questions. One of the scariest things can be not knowing what to do or who to ask if they have a problem. Talk through some scenarios with your child to help them prepare.
Be confident but acknowledge their emotions
Children will pick up on their parents’ stress and fears. Be positive and reassuring about your child’s new school adventure and show them that you trust their teachers. Be excited to find out about their school day.
Establish a goodbye routine
Make sure you firmly plant a bright smile on your face, even if you’re not feeling it. Fake it until you both make it through an amazing first day of Prep!