Going to childcare is a big step in both your child’s life and in yours.
For a kid, entering childcare means adjusting to a new environment, unfamiliar teachers and kids, and a different schedule.
Here are some common problems that toddlers may encounter when they start attending a childcare centre in Singapore, with practical ways that parents can help.
Problem: Your child has separation anxiety and cries every morning during drop-off.
Solution: Before the first day of school, ask your child’s teacher how she handles students with separation anxiety and how kids are comforted when they cry.
On the way to the childcare centre each morning, get your child to look forward to the day by talking about the fun activities and friends at school. Most children will eventually connect with a favourite teacher; find out who your child’s favourite teacher is and talk about how Ms. So-and-so is excited to see him or her.
For drop-off, rather than carrying your child to the classroom (which makes releasing even more tear-jerking and difficult), lead him or her by the hand instead as walking prompts more independence.
Reassure your child that you will be back and that everything will be okay, then say a brief goodbye.
Always talk to your child about his or her feelings. Even if your little one cannot talk a lot yet, it is important for parents to explain things, show interest, and listen.
Problem: Your child has a poor appetite at school, even though childcare centres in Singapore provide breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack.
Solution: If your child eats poorly at school, find out why. Perhaps your child does not know how to self-feed yet.
Ask the teacher for more assistance in feeding your child at school, and let your child practice self-feeding at home.
If your child does not like the meals at school, consider packing some of his or her favourite foods from home.
Problem: Your child has difficulty napping at the childcare centre.
Solution: If you haven’t yet, learn about a day in the life of your toddler at school. Childcare centres in Singapore follow a weekly schedule.
By obtaining a copy of your child’s class schedule, you can better match your at-home routine to the school’s routine, including naptime.
If naptime is from 12:30 to 3:15pm at school, try to keep to those naptime hours during weekends and holidays too.
Pack a “lovey” or favourite stuffed animal in his or her sleeping bag. You could buy a pillow and blanket set for school that is identical to your child’s bedding at home – the the familiarity may help.
Communicate with the teacher. If your child is too tired in the mornings, ask your teacher to help your little one to settle down during naptime.
Problem: Preschools in Singapore are a great place to build social skills, yet your child is having a hard time making friends at school.
Solution: Toddlers up to three years may engage primarily in parallel play; to an onlooker it may seem like they are not socialising.
You may worry, “Why isn’t my child playing together with other kids?” But at this young age, playing separately, side by side, is normal and an important bridge to cooperative play.
Encourage social skills by setting up play dates with other toddlers outside of school. Get to know a few mummies of your child’s classmates and invite them over for a fun and relaxing afternoon. Sharing the attention with other toddlers of the same age and taking turns when playing with toys are some of the social skills that will help your child make more friends at school and outside of school.
Problem: Your child was doing well at school, but is suddenly backsliding.
Solution: What are the possible reasons for regression in childcare centres in Singapore? Again, communication with the teacher and preschool centre is key.
Find out if something happened (and in which subject or class) that may have caused your child’s sudden aversion to school.
Was there an incident with another classmate? Has there been a change in staff?
Communication with your child is essential too. Ask your little one what he or she likes AND dislikes at school.
Coming back from a holiday or adapting to big changes at home (e.g. a new sibling, moving to a new place, potty training, a new domestic helper, sleep training, etc.) are other common causes for children’s change in attitude toward preschools in Singapore.
Be especially patient with your kid, even if the regression feels more frustrating than ever.
Read books about going to school, such as The Berenstein Bears Go to School, Wemberly Worried, and How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?
These books are filled with delightful, silly illustrations that depict the familiar classroom setting, which your child can relate to. By reading stories that draw attention to the positive things about school, kids will be reminded of how fun childcare centres in Singapore can be.