Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Parent to Parent: School Jitters
Dropping your little one off at pre-school can be a stressful experience. Between child and parent there can be tears on both sides. In today's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie offers up some helpful advice to make things easier.
WSVN -- Two-year-old Aidan Ross is a happy little boy who loves to color and play with his train set, but when his mom Kathy took him to pre-school for the first time it was a very different story.
Kathy Ross: "We left with smiling faces. We tried to make him feel good and he had a rough day the first day. He cried on and off for about three hours."
As the days passed, things got worse.
Kathy Ross: "He was having night terrors. That had never happened before."
Seven's parenting expert Dr. Valerie Goode says it's completely normal for little ones to feel traumatized through those first days of pre-school.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You have to prepare your child. Otherwise your child is walking into a strange situation, and you can expect that your child will cry and scream and not want to leave you."
To make the experience less traumatic, Dr. Valerie says make it more familiar.
Visit the pre-school and teacher several times before class begins, and, when you do drop your child off, don't hang around.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Even if he's holding on to your leg, and the teacher is pulling the child from your leg, you have to trust that situation."
Also, stick with the same routine every morning, even if your child is upset. Tell them you will see them soon, but don't feed into their insecurities.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "If you're going to make a big deal out of it, your child will make a big deal out of it."
Kathy felt Aidan wasn't quite ready for regular pre-school yet, so she enrolled him in the transitions program at the parenting place at Nova Southeastern University.
Sande Gruskinl, Nova Southeastern University: "Transition is an opportunity for a parent and a child to have the experience of a pre-school morning without the potential or possible trauma of an immediate separation."
The unique program allows parents to be part of the process while getting the child used to a structured pre-school experience.
It helps build a child's confidence while, at the same time, helping to calm separation fears in the parent.
Kathy says she's seen a huge improvement in Aidan's behavior since he started Transitions.
Kathy Ross: "When we go to the Transitions program he absolutely loves it. He has a great day, and he's happy."
Lynn Martinez: "Parents are encouraged to spend part of the time with their child in class, and then leave for the other half, until their child is used to being in class on their own."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies
Nova Southeastern University