It is almost impossible for working parents to be with their children all the time. As a result, many parents opt to enrol their young children in a day-care facility, a nursery or a pre-kindergarten school. However, being away from their parents and their usual comfort zone at a very young age occasionally causes many children to become uncomfortable and occasionally to burst into tears.
Chatchawan Bannasthitkul, marketing director at Babies Genius, a child development centre, shared his thoughts on how to let young children step out into school comfortably and happily.
He suggested that the two primary factors that make children feel comfortable are the foods they like and feeling safe and secure, such as being in the home with their parents and having their favourite snacks and foods on offer. Being close to one or both parents gives children a sense of security as they know the parents will protect them. It is not surprising, therefore, that when parents have to leave their young children in unfamiliar places, such as schools, the child may feel temporarily abandoned and therefore insecure. That is why crying often follows.
"We adults are no different. That is the reason we hire a tour guide when we travel abroad or a navigator when we go on long treks in the forests. We feel the tour guide or navigator will protect us," explained Mr Chatchawan.
"Sending children out of their home is similar to sending them on an unknown adventure without their protector."
Also, parents should use positive reinforcements when talking about schools.
"Never use threats like 'because you are so stubborn, I will send you to school'," he said. Such expressions cast schools in a negative light.
When children have done good things, parents should use expressions like "good students always do well in school" and "you are so smart; any school would be proud to have you". Parents need to make their children feel that school is a reward for good behaviour and a pleasant place to spend time.
"This will help to assure your child that school is a positive and secure environment," Mr Chatchawan advises.
To buttress his comment that food is part of what makes a person feel secure, he said that parents should prepare easy to munch foods, such as sandwiches or fruits for children to eat. "But make sure they are packed in easy-to-open plastic snack boxes with an easy-off lid. Avoid store-bought snacks that come in anti-theft, hard-to-open packaging that frustrates kids and heighten their anxiety," he said.
With these little tips, along with the parents's tender loving care, children are sure to enjoy going to and remaining at school almost as much as they like being at home.
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