The first days attending Montessori preschool can be painful for both parents and their children. In order to minimize the stress of being dropped off at preschool, we recommend introducing your child to the teachers and staff before school begins to promote familiarity, as well as following some of these other tips on making drop-offs less painful.
Understanding Separation AnxietyBefore starting Montessori preschool your children will spend most of their lives in close proximity to you and other family members. This is a healthy bond, but the stress of suddenly being left with strangers can trigger unwelcome emotional responses. Separation anxiety is normal, and most children will experience it in differing levels of intensity.
Making Time for Drop-OffOne way to ease the pressure of being dropped off is to make it less time-sensitive. Plan on leaving home a few minutes earlier and spend the extra time easing your child out of your presence and into the classroom environment. Instead of an abrupt departure, talk about what your child’s day will be like and how proud you are of how fast she is growing up.
Encourage Social BehaviorOnce your child begins to develop social interactions she will be less anxious when you drop her off in the mornings. Remind her of some of her classmates' names, especially those she is already familiar with outside of the Montessori preschool environment. If she doesn’t have any previous outside associations with the other students, make a point of scheduling a few playdates in the weeks immediately following the start of school.
Turn Drop-Off into RoutineTurn the morning drop-off into a daily routine. The less special being dropped of feels to her, the less anxiety she will suffer when you depart. Practice getting ready for school before she starts, so that she is already adjusted to part of the routine and going to school is only a new extension of an existing daily procedure.
When you take the mystery out of the equation of being dropped off at school, you will reduce the problems associated with parting from your daughter every morning. Work into the school year ahead of time and talk to her about what to expect when the big day comes. Most importantly, be patient and understanding of the enormity of the step she is making.