Now that Texas is opening back up, many parents will be heading back to work and need to once again drop their preschooler off at childcare.  Being away from a structured school setting may have been challenging at first for some children, but by now they may have found ways to adapt to being home all the time, perhaps better than some adults have! Going back to school may take a little bit of getting used to and here are some ways to help your little one get back into the swing of things in preschool

  1. Talk to your child/children about going back to childcare a few times (if possible) before they actually start back up. Remind them of their friends and teachers and the activities that they enjoyed working on when they were in preschool. You can even ask your child’s center to send pictures or have a video call ahead of time to serve as a reminder.
  2. Have a conversation with either the school director and/or your child’s teacher about how your child has managed over the past two months, ways he/she has grown, new interests, what they missed the most about being away from preschool etc. 
  3. For now parents are being required to drop off and pick up at the door rather than going into the room, explain the new protocol to your child so they are prepared to leave you at the door.
  4. “Social Distancing” is not a natural occurrence for children and as educators we know that this is something that has become part of the new norm but this will be perhaps the most challenging part of returning to school (don’t let anyone tell you differently). Educators must teach and encourage hand washing, sneezing/coughing into elbows and tissues and social distance when possible, but as caregivers to the tiniest beings we have to be in close contact with our children in order to meet their basic needs. Additionally, there is no substitute for a hug after a fall or a comforting lap for a child that has to adjust to being away from their parent once again and nor should there be.  By nature, children need physical contact which does not fit into the social distancing schema.  Schools can minimize the risks by spreading children out whenever possible such as naptime, at tables, circle time and waiting in lines. As a parent, have a conversation with your child (for children 4 and older) about trying to maintain some distance from others so they hear the expectation. 
  5. In some ways going back to preschool is similar to starting school for the first time so be patient with your child/children, yourself and your child’s teachers and school. We are all adjusting to the new “normal.” If you have concerns, engage in open communication with your preschool staff. 

Now more than ever schools and families must partner together to ensure that our children receive the best care that we can provide as we all learn to tackle this new world.  Good Luck and let’s all breathe!