Making changes to a child’s schedule is a challenge for any family. When a family must transition into a new preschool due to a move, a new job or any other changes in life, a parent must take measures to ease the transition and help a child adjust to the new situation.
1. Wait for an Announcement
Toddlers in preschool do not understand time in the same way an adult understands time. For a young child, a week is a long time and a month is a difficult concept to grasp. Since a toddler does not understand time or the concept of long-term changes, he or she will transition easier if a parent waits to announce the change until one to two weeks before the transition.
Do not inform the child of changes in advance, even if you plan to make changes for a month or two before the actual transition. An announcement shortly before moving to the new preschool prevents a child from feeling confused.
2. Talk to the Current Educator
Discuss the transition and change with your child’s current preschool teacher. Ask him or her to write notes for the new teacher about your child’s routines, behaviors and methods of handling transitions or changes. Discuss any ways a parent can smooth the transition based on the teacher’s previous experience welcoming new students into the preschool.
By discussing the changes with your child’s preschool teacher, parents learn different ways to handle the potential challenges that may arise when moving to a new area.
3. Visit the New Preschool
Talk to a new educator and set up time to visit the new preschool. Visit alone before bringing your child to the preschool to discuss your concerns with the new teacher and pass on notes from the previous educator.
Bring your child for several visits to the new preschool before the transition. A few visits before the transition helps your child become familiar with the new preschool and the educators at the new preschool.
4. Avoid Showing Worries or Concerns to a Child
While toddlers may feel uncomfortable with changes and may feel upset about the transition, they can adjust to the changes when given a chance. Try not to worry about the changes and transition when you bring your child to the new preschool for a visit.
Children often recognize worries and concerns from parents. When a parent feels worried about the way a child may transition, the child picks up on the worries without understanding the reasons. As a result, he or she may react negatively due to those worries. Keep the process simple and try to maintain a positive mindset. It will help reduce the stress of the transition.
5. Have a Goodbye Party
Talk to the previous educator about a goodbye party on your child’s last day at the preschool. A goodbye party or a special event marks the end of your child’s time in the space and allows him or her to say goodbye to friends and preschool educators. It also provides closure and allows your child to remember the preschool with a happy event.
Transitioning into a new preschool is a challenge for any toddler because of the sudden change, but it does not necessarily mean he or she will struggle. By taking measures to ease the process and encouraging a child to say goodbye to old friends, he or she can smoothly transition and start fresh at the new preschool.