If your child has recently started preschool, there are a few things you should know about getting used to a school routine. First and foremost, it takes a good five weeks to really build a routine. Your child may be well in the swing of his or her new morning routine before five weeks are over, but for many children it takes that long to really know and feel comfortable with their new schedule and the new people they will have to depend on at school. It’s all about expectations and your child becoming accustomed to the new routine.
For some children it can take longer, especially if they have a schedule that is hard to understand. For example, a child who may be tentative about school anyway and then attends preschool on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays can take quite a while to adjust to this one day at school, next day at home schedule. For these children attending on consecutive days, like a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday can often work much better. You may not have a choice regarding your child's schedule. I know many programs that run a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule for some children and a Tuesdays/Thursday schedule for others. An every other day schedule will work and nicely divides school days throughout the week, so don’t despair if your child is having a hard time adjusting in the beginning. Just remember it takes time.
Here are some tips for building a good solid school routine.
Have a consistent bedtime and morning routine that allows calm time for your child and is not hurried (of course you will be some days when you are running late, but make sure that is not the norm). Be on time for school and have a consistent drop off routine (these vary depending on your child’s school).
Your child will feel stressed if you act over concerned or worried. So unless there is a real problem at the school, be sure to act confident that this is the right place and a happy learning place for your child. Your child will follow your lead.
If your child is voicing fears, or if you have concerns that something is not right at school, contact your child’s teacher(s) immediately. You want any problem cleared up right away and you want your child’s teacher to be aware of your child’s concerns, as well as yours. Many concerns can be immediately taken care of, or situations can be explained to you, so don’t hold on to concerns or fears – they will only grow larger and interfere with your child having a positive experience.