The First Day of Preschool - A Happy and Sad Occasion
As your child reaches the age for attending preschool, it's going to be harder on you then it is on them, I can tell you that much. We do tear up when we send our kids off on that first day, don't we? We're excited for them, because we watch their excitment. We are proud as can be looking through our eyes at how sweet they look in their new clothes carrying their lunch box. One of our parenting goals met, we think, we've helped them make it to their first day of preschool. Until it's actually time to leave them at the door or watch them get on the bus. I don't know how many mothers I have known that struggle to keep that smile on until they are out of sight, only to cry all the way to the car or back up the stairs.
The first way to help (you) and your child begin the transition from home all day to part time school is to begin talking with them ahead of time. There are no concrete parenting guidelines for this-handle it as you see fit. About three weeks before the start date take them with you on a trip to the school and let them play and interact with the other kids. Any preschool worth their salt will let you do this. (If they don't you don't want your kids there. They should be happy and open to tours and interaction, provided they've done a pre-background check on you. Sad but true, make sure everyone has had a background check.)
On the first day of preschool you will need to let them know that you will be leaving them with the rest of the kids soon after the two of you get there. Tell them what time you will be coming back and show them on a clock what that looks like if need be. Make sure you have pre-arranged with the teachers alternate people that will pick them up if there are times you need to send someone else. (A reputable preschool won't let your children leave with anyone except those on the pick up list and will have to show identification.) On the first day, be sure that you are the one picking them up. After they are settled and only then, do you want an alternate person to pick them up. By doing exactly what you said you would do you can feel good about meeting your parenting goals of successfully seeing your child feel secure at school while teaching them they can go to school and trust that you will be there for them.