Adapting to preschool is the first serious test in your little one’s life, where they need to get used to being away from their mom for long periods of time.
Of course, every family wants this stage to go smoothly and for their child to quickly adjust to the changes.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Babies express their protest through crying and tantrums, refusing to stay without their mom.
In reality, there is nothing unusual about this. All new and sudden changes that challenge a little person’s familiar world are stressful. Your task is to smooth out the rough edges so that your child can adapt more easily to the change in their usual routine.
How to help your child adapt to preschool
Let’s take a look at what we can do to make the adaptation of the child to preschool conditions as comfortable and fast as possible:
- Pre-train your little one to the routine that is adopted in your preschool. It is also useful to introduce into their diet the foods that are prepared in the preschool institution. This way, when your child goes to preschool, they will not have any problems with these aspects.
- Ensure that your child has basic self-care skills: dressing and undressing without outside assistance, using tableware, going to the bathroom, etc. To make this point easier, prepare a wardrobe in advance: it should be as simple as possible so that your little one can manage it on their own. Natural fabrics and simple styles should be a priority.
- Pay attention to the formation of communication skills. Explain the need to share toys with peers and teach them how to behave properly with the teacher.
- Form a positive impression of the preschool. Avoid scaring your child with phrases like, “If you misbehave, I’ll leave you at the preschool!”
- Don’t deceive. Don’t exaggerate (or underestimate) the benefits of your child attending a preschool. Explain that at first, your little one may not know anyone, but there’s a chance to make new friends in the future. Also, try to keep your promises: if you said you’d pick up your child at 5 pm, follow through.
- Don’t leave without saying goodbye. Your little sunshine may think you’re abandoning them.
- Find games that will help your child adapt to the preschool and that they can play independently. Teach your little one that while they’re busy playing, it’s okay for you to tend to your own tasks. This will help ease any fears they may have about being alone.
- If your child can’t bear to be apart from you at the preschool, ask their father or grandmother to take them there, at least in the beginning.
- Be aware of the emotions you’re transmitting. Children are very sensitive to changes in their parents’ mood, and if you’re anxious, your little one will pick up on it. This may cause your child to fear going to the preschool as if it’s a scary or unpleasant place.
- Listen to your little angel’s feelings. If they cry at the preschool, don’t shout, pressure, force, or forbid them. Just accept that your little one needs time to adjust to the changes and to not feel the absence of their beloved mother so acutely. Show them that you understand their feelings and that they’re normal and natural.
- Surround your child with love and care. Give them more attention, demonstrate your feelings, and try to spend your free time together to compensate for the lack of their mother throughout the day.
Adapting a child to daycare in the younger group
If you’re planning to return to work early, you’ll likely be interested in knowing how the adjustment period goes for the youngest children.
Be prepared that adapting to daycare at the age of 2 is harder for children than for older ones.
This is normal because mentally, children are not yet ready for such drastic changes in life. The optimal age for going to daycare is 3 years old or a little older.
To make the adjustment easier for young children in the daycare nursery, you can initially visit the preschool institution together with your little one.
You can organize your daycare visits in the following ways:
- Me and Mom are a team
Suitable for children who are taking their first steps towards independence. At this time, the little one only plays all games together with Mom. Your task as a parent is to smoothly involve your daughter or son in the life of the group; try to make the little one want to communicate with other children.
- I play, Mom watches
When your child feels safe, then they will be ready to interact with their environment. But at the same time, with a constant look back at Mom.
- It’s easier for me now, Mom can leave briefly
The little person is ready to interact more actively with peers, so Mom can leave for an hour or two.
- Mommy, I like it here!
You will feel when this moment comes and the little angel is ready to try their own strength, staying in the group alone, without the careful supervision of parents.
How long does it take for a child to adapt to daycare?
There is no universal answer to the question of how long it takes for a child to adapt to daycare.
It’s all individual. You need to consider not only your little one’s age but also their upbringing, character, readiness for change, and so on.
Don’t try to compare your experience with someone else’s. Be patient, and soon your life will settle into a routine.
We have compiled an approximate list of adaptation periods that you can use as a guide while observing your little angel:
- In the best-case scenario, it will take 2-3 weeks;
- The average period usually lasts no more than one and a half months;
- If there is strong resistance to change, the adaptation period can last for more than three months.
We wish your little one an easy and speedy adjustment to the changes in their daily routine!
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