May 29, 2017

Dr. Gellner: Preschool is a big deal for you and your child. I've got tips that the preschool teachers want you to know before you start this major milestone in your child's life. I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Announcer: Keep your kids healthy and happy. You are now entering The Healthy Kid Zone with Dr. Cindy Gellner on The Scope.

Dr. Gellner: Firsts are always an emotional time for parents and kids -- the first time your child says a word, takes a step, uses the potty. Preschool is a little different in that you're leaving your child with a new person. That can be exciting and scary, but there are some things that you can do to make this a positive and happy transition for you and your child.

Keep the dropoff short and sweet. If you linger, it may increase your child's anxiety. Give a quick warm hug and let them know you will pick them up at the end of the day. Yes, you will cry and so will your child. It's especially going to be hard for kids who haven't had much separation from their parents prior to this. But the preschool teachers are really good at helping your child get through this, and eventually your child will probably get to the point where they like preschool so much they're like, "Bye, see you!" when you drop them off and they won't want to leave when it's time to go home.

Be sure you drop your child off on time. Routine is very important to little kids, and if you are late, it can set their whole day off. Your child will better be able to anticipate their day and what will happen if you keep them on schedule. Dress your child in clothes that are comfortable and appropriate. You don't want them running around in open-toed sandals if they're going to be riding a tricycle or running around in a playground that has wood chips. If your child is still potty training, choose pants that pull down quickly so they don't have to deal with buttons or zippers.

Finally, if there's something big happening in your family, something positive like a new baby on the way or negative like a divorce or a death in the family, be sure to let your child's preschool teacher know. In private is best so your child doesn't feel like you're talking about them amongst their friends. It's important for teachers to know what's going on so they can help your child with assurance and support if they notice any behavioral changes.

Preschool is a big stepping stone to real school and can help a lot with structure, early learning and socialization. As a parent, you can really help them get off to a great start by following these tips.

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