If your child has not spent time regularly with another caregiver before starting preschool, you may have to endure the inevitable scenes of separation anxiety. You take your cheerful child to the classroom door, say your good-byes, get ready to leave, and find the child hanging onto your legs. You slowly unglue her fingers from your kneecaps, only to discover that she has wrapped her legs around you in a scissor-like vise grip.
The best thing for you to do is to reassure her, give her another kiss…and leave. It's hard to do. That first day, she's likely to cry hysterically, hold her arms out to you, and stamp her feet in protest at your abandonment. The temptation is to go back and scoop her into your arms. But don't give in to this urge. You know she will be safe at preschool and you know she will have fun. You know you want her to go. You have made plans (for yourself?) for the first time in years. But this first separation can be heartbreaking.
So here's a little tip: Once you've moved out of your child's line of sight, pause for a few moments before getting into your car and driving away. Then quietly walk back to the building and listen at the door of your child's classroom. You won't hear any screaming. In fact, you'll probably hear giggling. And if you peak through the window, you'll see your daughter happily engaged in playing house with another girl about her size.
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