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Old 03-12-2014, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Finland
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My 3 year old has to start daycare in a month's time (I had intended to start with part time and gently ease her into it but I've been offered a work experience placement that I can't turn down) but she is extremely shy. She can't even bear to be left alone with close family members so how will she cope with strangers? Even other children scare her a bit. How can I best make this transition as easy for her as possible? And how do I even explain the concept of daycare to her, that she will have to be away from me all day?
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Warren County and loving it!
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I would tell her it's time for her to start going to school. Call them and ask for a visitation time that you and she can go to. You take her there and she plays with the other kids and the toys. It gets her excited about going.

I did this with my daughters and it went really well. I didn't once hear that they didn't want to go to school. They were always happy there. Just do your research and make sure it's the right place for her.

I made many calls and visits before deciding which was the right one. I knew from the start which I liked best but figured I should check out others. I still went with my first instinct. I would say based on info you receive over the phone, you will get a feeling if you are going to like one or not. If you do, make sure you visit with her. Do this for a couple of places. You will know which is right.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:25 AM
 
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Would casually mention it to her in passing that she'll be going to 'school' and will make new friends etc - kids her age dont have much concept as far as time - given she's so attached to you, you might want to see if you can bring her part-time now even though your job starts later, imo to expect her to go willingly and happily from never having been away from you to being away from you the bulk of the day will be very stressful and difficult for both of you, she needs to be prepared. She needs to know change is good etc (most of the time) - emphasize the positive - don't emphasize that she'll be away from you all day but that she'll make new friends etc bc mommy will be busy working (but dont dwell on that, you want to make it as positive as you can and in hindsight, she s/h learned a lot earlier that it's ok and is a good thing to be left occasionally w/ other people (assuming they're stable and caring etc).

Excellent advice from Jersey about visiting different schools and taking her there to introduce her to the new situation/routine - definitely research them and visit with her to get an idea of what to expect (so she'll know firsthand too), she may be very hesitant but keep it positive and hopefully before long she'll look forward to seeing her new friends etc.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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Have you played "school" at home?

Definitely schedule a visit day for a short period so she can have an idea of where she's headed.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Finland
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I have no idea yet where she will actually be going as the public daycare system has several centres and 15 childminders so she could be placed in any one of them as I didn't specify a preference because of the urgency (normal waiting list time is 4 months you see, so can't afford to be picky) but as soon as I know I'll arrange a visit (well several visits probably).

We haven't played "school" at home, but I've talked to her about daycare before as her friend goes there and told her its a place where she can play with other children.

She is used to being away from me as I share custody with her dad, just not used to being left with strangers. I'm only going to be working five hours a day so its not quite full time really but still a long time.
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
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I had two very shy toddlers although they were comfortable with family and neighborhood kids. There were literally months of crying when I dropped them off at preschool. They liked the preschool and the teachers, but they were uncomfortable. With the older one, she really did not know how to approach other children or what to say. We "practiced" this skill as a game, and I helped her choose words to use. It also helped that she was a very verbal kid overall so she could articulate her fears. Later in the year it helped her to focus on making friends with a single child.

I don't recall the exact words, but I made up some silly song we would sing on the way to preschool. That helped too. The best advice, is to drop her off and leave, even if she is crying. It's heartbreaking and hard, but typically they will calm down once you are out of sight.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I agree with rrah, it will be very difficult for both of you.

The advice to drop her off and go is best. After the first couple of days, the longer you linger, the harder it is for her to transition.

All our teachers SWORE that my boys stopped crying the minute I left. I was able to view them from a teacher break room, and they were right.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Finland
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Yeah I will make the dropping off go as quickly as possible. She is much more outgoing when I'm not around so I'm hoping once she gets over the fact that I'm not staying with her she will overcome her shyness.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
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I would suggest that you watch videos of different preschool classrooms together. There's no need at first to say why you're watching the video. Just let her internalize what happens at school, and then let her know it's time for her to go to school.
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Old 03-12-2014, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Finland
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That sounds like a good idea, thanks.
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