Transitions can be tricky for everyone, adults as well as children. As your child moves from one part of their day to the next they sometimes need time to adjust to different activities, different people and a different environment.
It is worth putting some thought into how to create a smooth transition from preschool, home, back to preschool. At Kaleidoscope Kids, we are more than familiar with this time of the day! Here are some of our suggestions to make the end of the day as smooth as possible for everyone.
Remind them you WILL return.
It’s time to go your separate ways to work and school. Of course, it’s only for a few hours a day, but for a preschooler, this can seem like a lifetime.
Sometimes young children deal with separation anxiety. Honestly, some parents have trouble separating from their children too. In both cases, those feelings are totally normal!
To make things easier on both of you, talk to your little one ahead of time. Let them know that you will be back to pick them up in just a few hours and remind them of all the fun they’re going to have with their friends and teachers.
It’s best to make the morning drop off quick so children can move on with their school day. In the event that your child still holds some anxiety about school, and if you have a little one who cries when dropped off, rest assured that preschool staff will take care of your child. This isn’t the first time. They have spent years training and preparing for all kinds of challenges, and they are likely pros at handling this and know how to walk them through a tough moment. Of course love on your little one, but then move on quickly.
Remember, while these steps kids take without us can be scary, going to preschool is one of many stepping stones helping to form our little people into who they are going to be.
Kaleidoscope Kids’ preschool program is designed to leave your active and enthusiastic children excited for school and make sure they are encouraged and supported to expand their knowledge.
Preparation for Pickup.
We all do much better when we have a routine. Help set your child up for success by getting yourself in the right mind frame on your way to pick them up from childcare. Be fully present and leave work behind.
This is not just a transition for them, but for you as well. The workweek can be busy, taking the time to breathe before walking into school will help you connect with your child & take that time to hear about their day, gather their items with a clear mind and visit with the teacher if needed.
If it helps ease your mind during the day, the Watch Me Grow live streaming service at Kaleidoscope Kids allows you to have a bird’s eye view on their children’s activities throughout the day. On your drive over you can think of the questions you want to ask them about the activity you watched them participate in!
This is the goal and can’t always be accomplished because of outside forces such as traffic or weather conditions, but it’s always something to strive towards. Your child needs time to adjust to the change of leaving their preschool. Rushing at the end of the day will make them more likely to become upset or flustered.
Your child might need a little extra time to wrap up an activity or tidy up after a project. More than likely they will want to show you what they have been doing or introduce you to a new friend. Giving a time forewarning that they have 5 minutes left is always a great way to ease into bringing their venture to a close.
When you arrive, it is easy to get distracted. Pick-up time can be a social time where parents chat and make arrangements for other activities like play dates for their children. Arriving a few minutes early will ensure you have the time to meet new parents or set up play dates.
Meet & Greet.
It is essential to check in with your child’s teacher every so often about how the day went, any concerns and just a quick thank you. If a teacher is talking to another parent or dealing with a child a nod and smile can be enough to acknowledge that you appreciate all of the work they do.
Building a good relationship with the people who play a big role in your child’s day is important and can make it a lot easier if you ever need to discuss any difficult or sensitive issues regarding your child.
At Kaleidoscope Kids, our dedicated and supportive teachers create small classroom sizes with the lowest teacher to child ratios, in order to pay close attention to your child’s needs and development.
Communication is key (a comfort item is a bonus).
Children listen & understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Going back to the first tip, talk about the transition. Talk about how they feel, their worries, their hopes & let them know you care by validating their feelings. Comfort items can help reassure them during the transition period. If your child has a beloved teddy bear, blanket or “lovie” that they use for sleep and comfort, it may be worth packing in case of an emergency.
You could also give your child something special of yours like a favorite scarf or bandana to reassure them that you will come back to get it. Tracing your hand on a piece of paper & cutting it out and placing it in their bag, reminding them that if they get sad they can hold your hand.
It is a lovely idea to leave notes, drawings, and even little painted rocks in random places to surprise your child. Sometimes in their lunches, and sometimes in their backpacks. This isn’t something to do just at the beginning of the year, and it’s not necessarily an everyday thing. But make a point to give them thoughtful reminders to let them know your heart is always there with them.
Have a plan – and a snack!
Don’t forget to have a healthy snack available if you are not going home right away.
It is always good to know what you are going to be doing after preschool pickup. This gives your child a sense of moving on to the next thing rather than focusing on what they have left behind.
With all the pressures of work and family life, the next activity might be a trip to the grocery store or something equally mundane. But you can always talk about things in a positive manner so that it feels like something to look forward to. You can turn this into a learning experience. The goal is to make your child feel like a capable, contributing member of the family. If you do go to the grocery store let them choose some snacks for the week or have input in the family meal plan.
Working on smooth transitions is a process. Planning a routine will help make the adjustment for all involved as peaceful as possible. When you are positive and fearless, your preschooler will mirror your actions. Create a happy school scene & watch them thrive.
Whether you are just looking around or are interested in enrolling your child immediately, we are excited to learn more about you and your family! Kaleidoscope Kids looks forward to helping you make the best choice for your big decision. If you would like to book a tour, do not hesitate to call us at 203-403-7271, spots fill up fast.”