Whether it’s starting at a new school or having to change from one crèche to another during the year, toddlers often find such transition difficult to deal with, which can end up in tears and tantrums – and more stress than you need right now! Whatever the reason for this change in childcare, you can help your little one cope with it.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
Childcare professionals agree that in an ideal world, the best age to start school is between three and four. But in reality many kids have to learn to cope with the brand new, daunting world of school from as little as one. “The smaller a child, the less adaptive they are because they have almost no life experience and therefore lack the tools to handle the situation,” explains educational psychologist Theresa Quinn. Parents should know how to make the transition as smooth as possible in order to assist development of independence and the notion that “I am okay even if Mommy or Daddy are not with me”.
“An important benefit of school is the socialisation skills gained, which aids development of emotional intelligence,” says Katherine van Heerden Pieterse, an educational psychologist, who also warns against only focussing on a child’s physical development and readiness for preschool, and forgetting about emotional development. “Emotional, cognitive and physical development is like a triangle. They must develop in balance.”
So if preschool isn’t quite what your tot needs right now, look into less overwhelming childcare options, such as a smaller daycare or crèche setup.
Be realistic New adjustments take time, and it’s normal to have some anxiety at first. Just like adults, children will also try to avoid something that is (perceived to be) unpleasant. If you feel overly anxious about the move to a new school or teacher, you can’t really expect your child not to feel the same.
2Another clever timesaver: don’t make it, fake it! Learn to cheat smart – the key to a clever recipe cheat is to pick substitutions that no one will notice. If a recipe calls for roast chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket instead – and you’ve just saved yourself a whole step in the recipe. Buy a premixed wet curry paste instead of blending spices as you cook, and we don’t need to tell you about how to make a stellar dessert from a tub of supermarket ice cream, a bag of bought meringues and a punnet of raspberries, do we?!