How To Help Your Anxious Child Embrace Preschool

If your child has anxiety, preschool can be hard in a number of ways. Luckily, there are ways that you can help ease your child's anxiety and make preschool a pleasant place for him or her. Here are some ideas to inspire you:   

1. Look for a preschool with a calming atmosphere.

Take your child's anxiety into account when choosing the preschool, and look for one with a relatively calming atmosphere (such as Sammamish Montessori School). Depending on your child's preferences, this could include a preschool with a low student-to-teacher ratio, a preschool without a lot of over-stimulating lights or electronics, or even a preschool that spends a lot of time in nature.  

2. Talk with the preschool teacher about your child's anxiety.

Before dropping your child off at preschool alone, talk with your child's teacher about the anxiety. The teacher may have ideas on how to deal with it, and it's important that the teacher understands that your child has anxiety. In some cases, anxiety can manifest itself as anger, and your child needs a teacher who understands that fact.

In addition, ask the teacher not to force your child into any activities. When people are scared or anxious about something, it can be supportive to encourage them, but it can be very scary to force them into doing something they don't feel comfortable with. That can be true whether it's going down a slide or taking a nap without special blanket.

3. Send your child to preschool with calming items.

If your child has any items that help calm him or her down, send a few of them along with your child to preschool. Children with sensory issues alongside of their anxiety are often calmed by stroking a patchwork blanket made of multiple materials. Children who are homesick may appreciate a photo of you or other family members. In other cases, your child may benefit from bringing their special teddy bear or doll to school.  

4. Help your child meet other kids.

Many people with anxiety struggle in large groups of people. Groups can be scary, and it can be hard to make new friends in large groups. To help your child, take some time to introduce him or her to a couple of other children in the class individually. If possible, set up a few one-one playdates with a few kids in the class. If your child has a friend in the class, it will help him or her to feel like he or she has an ally, and that can temper feelings of fear, loneliness and anxiety.