Transitioning New Children
A Good Beginning
We prefer to have new children ease into the room and routine. We recommend a few short visits, gradually lengthening the visit time, prior to full-day enrollment. This helps your child become familiar with the environment and also helps us get acquainted.
Each child is unique in their pattern and ease of adjustment to new situations. Be sure to talk with the staff daily during the transition phase. A consistent daily schedule (arrival and departure routines) also help children adjust to a new routine and environment.
You are welcome to stay with your child in the room during the visits, keeping in mind that separation will eventually need to be made (see Separation). However, because your child is not officially enrolled and is not included in the teacher-child ratio parents should stay with their child or observe from the booth. Visits should last from 2 - 3 hours. If you would like your child to experience different times of the day - schedule your visits accordingly. For liability purposes, parents may not leave their child unsupervised during visits.
Children sometimes have difficulty letting go of their parent at arrival. This is typical behavior which, over time, should decrease as they become more secure in their new environment. Here are a few suggestions to help ease separation:
- Allow adequate time in the morning for arrival adjustment before needing to leave for work.
- While traveling, talk to your child about going to "Blue Door," or preschool room, who will be there, etc. This prepares your child for what will occur. When you are rushed, children feel hurried and anxious.
- When you arrive, help your child get "settled in" by becoming involved in play.
- Once your child is playing comfortably, tell your child it's time for you to go. (You might also try a two-minute warning ahead of time.) Please, do not "sneak out". Children are establishing their sense of trust and need to see you go and see you return at the end of the day.
- Give hugs and kisses and reassure your child you will be back (e.g. after snack).
If there is still protest and difficulty, the staff are close by to help your child when you leave. Usually, children calm down and begin to play soon after you leave. Remember, even those children who are comfortable in play and in their environment need your attention, affection, and reassurance. All parents should follow these separation guidelines.
MU Child Development Lab
University of Missouri
31 Stanley Hall
Columbia, MO 65211