Psychologist’s Tips

The beginning of the pre-school education is one of the key developmental milestones for a little child. It means changing the daily routine, staying out all day long in unfamiliar surroundings, adapting to the kindergarten and other kids’ needs. All this is very important but sometimes may seem to be very hard to two- and three-year olds. Collaboration between parents and teachers usually allows a child to smoothly settle in.

Our psychologist Oktawia Toman

dispels parents’ doubts:

Dear Parent,

You are going to entrust your most valuable treasure – YOUR CHILD – to our care soon. However, before you do that, we encourage you to make your child ready for this new experience and, at the same time, to prepare yourself for changes that are going to take place in your family.It is very important to make sure that before your child starts attending the kindergarten,

    • you yourself accept the fact that the kindergarten is going to take care of your child. It’s natural that you may fear and have doubts at the beginning. Before you make your final decision, think of advantages and disadvantages of this issue bearing in mind at all times your child’s welfare.
    • Make your child and yourself ready for separating. It is going to be hard for a child to settle in at the kindergarten if it was used to being with you all the time. Try to leave your child with other person for a while at the beginning and then gradually for longer periods. Each time before you leave, tell your child when you are going to come back, e.g. “when the hour hand of the clock points to 2”. It is important as this way the child learns that its parent always comes back. You, on the other hand, learn to follow your routine without your kid.
    • Do not threaten your child with the kindergarten. Tell it instead what a great place it is. By telling such stories arouse curiosity in your child and present the kindergarten as a very safe environment of limitless possibilities and as a place to make new friends.
    • Visit the prospective kindergarten with your child several times to get to know the place, its staff and your child carers. For your child a visit to the kindergarten in your presence means that it is a good and safe place.
    • About two weeks before your child starts the kindergarten, tell it what the first day will look like: who is going to bring it to school, how you are going to say goodbye to each other, what the child is going to do at the kindergarten, when you are going to pick it up. Repeat all this over and over again as it gives your child an idea of the new setting and builds its confidence.
  • Tell your child a story where the main hero, like your own child, starts kindergarten. Detail the character’s experiences and adventures. If your child likes the story, tell it again every day.

When your child starts kindergarten:

    • make sure that you have enough time in the morning to get dressed, have breakfast and leave the house. At the beginning, your child may need more time for the daily morning routine. Avoid any tension at that time as the child is quite sensitive to negative emotions and becomes anxious then. Your morning activities must remind of a ritual that may possibly need to include a five-minute play.
    • Saying goodbye at the kindergarten must be tender but quick. It would be better, if the child was accompanied to the kindergarten by someone to whom saying goodbye is easier for the child. Tears on the child’s face that appear at the moment of saying goodbye usually disappear as soon as the child enters the playroom. The child forgets about separation and is happy to start playing.
    • On the occasion of starting the kindergarten, you can give your child a present. Your child can also take its teddy or some other toy to make it feel more confident at the kindergarten.
    • Motivate your child to go to the kindergarten by praising it and focusing on its achievements and successes. Emphasise that going to the kindergarten is a kind of privilege.
    • Always keep your word. Do not make appointments with your child according to the clock but rather according to the time of the day or part of the kindergarten schedule of the day, e.g. after lunch, after tea time, after swimming. If you promise to come after tea time, do not be late. Otherwise your child may think that you forgot about it.
    • Properly communicate with the child’s teacher. Do not only ask what your child has eaten today but rather ask whether it has made any progress and/or experiences any difficulties. Discuss it with the teacher and look together for solutions if necessary. Share with the teacher essential information about your child: its strengths and weaknesses, health problems or special diet requirements. Remember that your common goal is your CHILD’S welfare.
    • Let your child become independent. Do not help it to get dressed, put its shoes on or eat. You need to be very patient as learning to be independent is very important to your child.
  • Do not compare your child to others but be happy about its own achievements. This time is as difficult for you as for your child, but it is in great measure up to you how you will both deal with it.