Easing Preschool Jitters

Leaving your child for the first time -- or even the second or third time -- in a room full of strangers is bound to trigger separation anxiety. Here's what you can do to help her feel more at ease.

Regression

However you expand your child's horizons, expose her gradually. Leaving her for the first time-or even a second and third time-in a room full of strangers is bound to trigger separation anxiety. Some children react to preschool, for instance, by regressing: wetting their pants, whining to be carried, clinging to their parents, or resuming old habits like carrying a baby blanket or sucking their thumb. Others become irritable and demanding or cocky and overconfident, proclaiming that they know everything already and don't need to be taught anything else.

All of these behaviors are normal and do not necessarily mean that your child is unhappy with her preschool experience or that she's mad at you for sending her away. They simply indicate that she is adjusting to a new world with new people and new activities. Here's how to help ease the transition:

  • Visit the school (or play site) in advance so your child has an opportunity to meet the teacher, perhaps find her cubby or locker, and become familiar with the classroom in advance.

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