Drop off Pressures
In recent years, mothers have experienced an incredible pressure to send off their toddler to a ‘Drop Off” program. Most of this pressure is self -created stemming from the following fears:
My child will fall behind others if she doesn’t go.
My child will not be able to leave my side when it is time to go to preschool.
My child won’t get in to a preschool if I don’t start in their toddler program.
My child will not know how to socialize if she doesn’t go to a toddler program.
Unfortunately none of these fears address the needs of toddlers. I can guarantee you that when developmentally ready your child will leave your side willingly and without tears. She will make plenty of friends when she has appropriate language skills and develops a sense of autonomy usually between 2 and 3 years.
There are no required skills to attend preschool other than the necessary ones of being secure and confident. These she will learn from being around the best toddler teacher in the world. Someone who can predict her needs and knows her best, and that someone is YOU! Everyday life presents numerous opportunities for toddlers to practice and learn their primary skills within the security of your relationship.
When preschool was first conceived it was meant for children turning three. This has a lot of reasoning behind it.
1.This is the age that children start to socialize, interact and play together. This is due to the enormous fact that they have language and can express their needs and wants to others. They also have an understanding of their sense of self and others within the world, which offers them an appreciation for others.
2.Children this age are able to perform many self-help skills that include toileting, eating, getting what they need within the classroom and getting oneself dressed. This allows for them to have their needs met within a group setting.
3.Along with their understanding of language, children are developing a sense of time and can understand the concept of later. They understand what it means that mommy will be back at the end of the morning allowing for less stress when being dropped off.
It is critical to be honest and ask yourself what is the motivation for sending your child off before preschool. If it’s that you need alone time then that is a valid reason since you will be a better parent when rested and happy. If it’s because you don’t want to deprive your child, remember: All learning between 0-3 occurs around a relationship. It is built on love and trust. No one can offer your child what you can during these essential years. I speak from experience when I say; The days may be tedious, long and exhausting but the years go by so quickly. Enjoy the time you have with your child when you are her primary influence. It is precious and limited.
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”