A child, who goes to nursery school without a backward glance, says good-bye to her mother, and gets straight into play at the sandbox is rather unusual. Most children harbor fears of a strange place with strange people and separation from you. You will need to give your child the time and the opportunity to adjust to this rather frightening change in her life.
You can do much to alley your child’s fears by familiarizing her with the journey to school, the entrance to the school, her classroom, some of the children who will be in her class, her teacher, where the games are, and what some of the routines are. Most teachers will welcome your taking your child to the school several times before she starts so that she can feel comfortable in her new surroundings. Make the first visit as casual as possible. Stay for only a few minutes, so your child does not get bored or frightened and don’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to.
Making separation easy The first morning is likely to be difficult for both of you. You may have to stay with your child for the whole morning, but this shouldn’t happen more than once. Don’t forget that it is a great transition for her, so be patient. Many nursery schools will welcome your staying to give your child confidence. Once your child realizes you are not going to leave, she will be happy to get on with her classroom routines as long as you seat somewhere quietly and discreetly.
Maybe during the first morning, but certainly on the second, suggest that you are going out to buy a newspaper, but come back within five minutes, so your child is reassured. Don’t go if your child gets very distressed at the prospect of your leaving. Once she is happy, suggest that you leave again, this time for about half an hour, and come back in exactly the time you promised. Over the next few days, leave for longer and longer periods according to how your child reacts. You’ll find that in a short time you won’t need to stay at all. A confident child may want to be self-reliant and suggest that you leave long before you think she is capable of being separated from you. Sometimes a teacher will advise you when it’s time to go.
Starting nursery school Once your child is engrossed in some activity she may hardly even notice when you leave.