Parents' Anxiety about Starting Preschool

Archived Q&A and Reviews

related page: Adjusting to Preschool

April 2004

For many, many months now, I've been excited about my one and only starting preschool. She'll be 2 years + 5 months old when she starts in June (3 full days a week). I have no doubts about the school we've chosen for her and the care she will receive there.

But now that I've actually submitted the application and deposit, I'm having all sorts of anxiety and fears!! Any advice from you parents out there about how to deal with this? I'm fretting over things like will the teacher comfort her when she cries? What if she doesn't eat her lunch? Will she go hungry all day? Who's going to watch her on the playground?

Please, no suggestions about delaying preschool (currently she watches a lot of videos all day with her grandparents). I just need advice about how to deal with my neurosis and what would help *ME* adjust!

Nervous Mama

From my experience with my now 3 1/2 year daughter, you couldn't have picked a better age to start your child in preschool. Right at 2 1/2 my daughter went through a huge developmental leap that required her to interact independantly with other kids and adults. I am a stay at home Mom and I never would have guessed how much being away with others would be critical at that age. As for your concerns about her eating or playground supervision, I found that my daughter is much more self sufficient in a preschool situation than she ever is/was at home. She eats, naps, plays safely, plays nicely etc. far more than when I am there to watch her. Your best reassurance will come when your daughter LOVES her new school - There may be an ajustment period when she cries when she is left, etc. but I don't know any kids that ultimately didn't love playing with other kids in a structured environment. It will be a wonderful alternative to grandma's for her. Congratulations for finding a school that you have so much confidence in and giving your daughter this opportunity. jac

I could have written your post! Our son, 2 yrs and 5 mos, is starting preschool next week for 2 half-days a week. I am feeling very anxious as well. Is it possible for your daughter to start with half-days (you mentioned that she's with her grandparents during the day now-- could they continue to babysit in the afternoons?)? I guess I am preparing myself by accepting the fact that there will be an adjustment period (up to 2 months, maybe?) and that I will probably leave him there in tears every morning for awhile. Ugh, it sounds horrible. And then also, I think of the babies and 1-year-olds and 2-year-olds that spend hours away from their parents and actually love their daycares, preschools and teachers. That's what I'm hoping for. I can't wait the read the other responses to your post! anon

After lots of work to attend open houses, think about what would be best for my child, what to apply to, applications, hoping that we would have at least some options, I ended up feeling quite ambivalent, not necessarily anxious about my daughter going to preschool. For me, I decided, it was 2 things. First, a feeling of being a little bit sad that my child is growing up, into this next phase... some sadness for her babyhood. She is currently in childcare 4 days a week so it wasn't separation from me, just an end of a phase of life.... Secondly, a bit of a let down, that after all that work, I wasn't totally thrilled with the options. Maybe these same things are leading to your concern? Margaret