Tips for Transitioning Your Child from One Class to Another

Tips for Transitioning Your Child from One Class to Another

By Cheri Szereszewski, RECE
Director, Prosserman JCC Daycare & Preschool

Transitions can be hard for young children, especially toddlers who are, by nature, not fond of change. Being sensitive to the fact that this may be difficult for him or her is the most important first step.  Transitioning between rooms is an important part of growing up and most children become very excited about the move.  Here are a few tips to hopefully make the transition a little easier.

1.Talk about school at home before the transition, no matter what the age of your child.  Many children, especially younger ones, don’t have a great concept of time so don't start talking about the change in childcare until a week or two before the change will take place.  When talking about the change, use the names of the new teachers if you know them and remind them that your child that he/she will still be able to see the current teachers2.

2.Read books with your child about making changes. Hearing that other children have had similar experiences can be very helpful for your child. Read books about children who are starting preschool or begin day care. Some good ones are: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas,Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.  Talk about how much fun school is, how much they are going to learn in their new class and how exciting it is that they are getting bigger ready for new things.

3.You can expect some changes in your child while he or she is getting used to the new class, teachers and routine.  There may also be some new children in the class that your child will be getting to know.  While getting used to the new class and routine, your child may be clingy, sad, or out of sorts. This is normal for many kids, according to research, because kids’ stress hormones actually elevate during this transition period but it has no lasting damage.

4.Walk away! Don’t look back!  It can be so tempting for parents to drag out the farewell, to have one last cuddle, or to pop back and sneak a peek to see how their child is settling in. Just. Walk. Away. It is so hard to do….I KNOW! However it is much more helpful to your child to have a warm and loving goodbye that is just that – goodbye. Dragging it out just makes the separation longer and more painful. Go to the car and make a quick phone call or send an e-mail to the office if you would like to check in. We are happy to let you know how your child is settling in and we know you are anxious.  Talk with the carers about how your child is settling in and consciously model a friendly and relaxed relationship with your child’s carers.  If you know your child tends to be more anxious about change,  make sure to let the teachers know what helps to calm your child or feel free to ask for some tips from the teachers or administration about things that you can do to help make the transition more relaxed.

Remember, children trust those that you trust. Your child will be watching you to see how you are reacting to the change. If you interact confidently and warmly with the new teachers and other children, your child will know that everything is fine and he/she can relax and enjoy themselves. 

Transitioning from one room to another is a natural progression in the development of your child.  Know that you have chosen the early childhood centre your child is attending with care and diligence and trust that the educators there will do everything they can to help make the change a positive and easy one.

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