Preparing Velcro Children For Separation

Velcro clothes items have become not only acceptable but fashionable. As parents of preschoolers you no longer have to struggle with teaching your kid how to tie his shoes before he enters kindergarten. You have also done away with those abominable zippers that just will not pull when your child is in a hurry to go outdoors to play and that will not unzip when he runs in to use the washroom. Instead, Velcro has come to your rescue. Even I find Velcro handy as I strap on my sandals.

We're OK with Velcro on these items but we do not want to encourage Velcro children. Velcro children are the kind that stick to you like a burr when you try to drop them off at playschool or any other place.

Velcro children are super sensitive. I know; I was one of them. I stand in the corner of the hallway and beaten on my first day of school. I grew up in a large family that loved me and was kind to me and I was used to being around people, but not strangers. I had been very sentered from strangers since my siblings met all my social needs. I tagged along with my older sister who was in grade three that first week of school. I'm sure she did not appreciate me although now she says she does not remember that.

That experience helped me be super sensitive and aware of Velcro kids in my preschool classes. They were usually the sweetest ones, hiding behind their moms. I felt for them but I knew from experience that once they became familiar with the environment and bonded a bit with me and at least one other child, they would wave a happy good-bye to their mom, too.

There are many ways you can prepare even the most sensitive, shyest child to enter his new world comfortably. Leaving your child behind for the first time or introducing him to a new growing experience can also be a huge emotional time for you, his parent. Your child senses how you feel so try to envision before hand what will happen and how you will deal with your own worry and anxiety. Read some books or talk to parents that have gone through this before the big day comes. Leave your child alone with a relative or close friend for just a few minutes to start and then for longer times. This weans him off his dependence on you.

Playing games like peek-a-boo with an infant, and hide and seek with your toddler or preschooler, helps your child realize you may be out of sight for a while but you are coming back for him.

I encouraged a parent to stay in class with his child for the first day if the child would just not let his parent out of sight. It was not worth it to allow the child to scream and throw a tantrum. As a parent or a teacher you need to evaluate each child's emotional state individually. Sometimes a child just is not emotionally mature enough to handle separation. One patient loving dad stayed eight days. I was so impressed. He did not coddle his son; he was just in the room.

You may want to visit the classroom, be it kindergarten, or Sunday school, children's church or a daycare, before the day your child will be dropped off. Your child may need only a few minutes before class or he may need to become familiar with his new environment, playing, while you talk or have coffee with the caregiver or teacher. Depending on the teacher and her situation, if you are comfortable with her, invite her for lunch. I did that with my son's grade one teacher and we were all bonded for the year. As a preschool teacher I was always honored when a parent invited me into her home.

Also, please be honest with your child. Do not sneak out; that breaks his trust in you. Tell him that you will be back for him soon and he will be OK.

So with advanced planning and your warm reassurance that there are a million fun things for him to do, your child will soon happily be traveling good-bye to you.


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