Your child starting preschool, school, or any new child care setting can be a very exciting time for them, with new friends to meet and things to learn. However, as ABC News explains, it is not unusual for parents to feel sad, lonely, or that they have too much time on their hands.
Luckily, as this guide explains, there are a few things you can do to cope with your feelings.
Talk Through Your Feelings
Experiencing worry, loneliness, or sadness is difficult, but talking through your problems is sure to help you feel better and adjust to your child being at preschool. If you have friends whose children recently started preschool, it would be helpful to talk through your problems together, but speaking to your partner or a family member would be useful too. If you don't feel comfortable talking to anyone, there are many online forums and Facebook groups for parents to talk and share their experiences. You could also write down your ideas in a journal or make art from them. In short, relating to other people will help you realise your experiences are not unusual and will help you cope with your feelings.
Take Part In Your Child's School Life
Another way to cope with feelings about your child starting preschool is to get involved in their school life in any way possible. Try hard to create a good working relationship with their teacher – Thought Co. has some good advice about parent-teacher relationships, explaining that regular contact and honest, effective communication is key. This will also help you to stop worrying about your child, as you'll have a better idea of what they are experiencing at school. You could also ask about ways to volunteer at the school or in your child's classroom, as many schools need volunteers to help with activities, read with children, fundraise, or help with big events like school plays and parties.
Enjoy Your Free Time
Suddenly having a lot more free time can seem daunting as you are alone in an empty house for the first time in years. However, you can use this time productively. There is always something you can do, whether you want to take up a new hobby or restart one you had before having children, take steps towards a new career, spend more time with friends or decorate and organise your home. If you are looking for a hobby or activity that doesn't cost much, Wisebread has some good suggestions, including writing, sewing, cooking, and learning new things. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it helps you feel good about yourself and that you enjoy the time you spend alone, which will help you adjust.
If you spend time working through your feelings, make the most of the extra time that you have, and get involved with your child's new preschool life, you will be able to adjust to your child attending school and enjoy this new phase of your life.