Адаптация к детскому саду

Ms. Ekaterina

child psychologist, family system psychotherapist, teacher of infant development

Adaptation to kindergarten

In many families the question of kindergarten arises after the expiration of paid maternity leave. This happens when the baby turns 1.5 years old. In this regard, many questions arise: "What is the best age to start kindergarten?", "Will the child start catching germs all the time there?", "How will the baby feel in an unfamiliar place?"… and many others.

For parents, the time of the child’s adaptation in kindergarten is no less disturbing than for the child himself. And their feelings during this period affect the child. He feels parental anxiety and gets more tense, too. The way the adaptation period passes will define the baby’s feelings and the comfort of his stay in the kindergarten for the coming years.

At what age is it reasonable to start kindergarten?

A 1.5 year-old has a strong attachment to his mother, and parting for a long time can be very stressful for him. The child is not independent enough yet: not all children at this age go potty or can undress for sleep. But there are a lot of kids in the group, and the nursery teacher cannot physically help everyone. At this age, the child has no need to communicate with peers. Children can touch each other, exchange toys and go their separate ways. No doubt, this is an important part of the development of the toddler, but it is situational in nature.

From the age of 2, the child shows a greater interest in communication with peers, but children still play side by side, not together. It is important that dependence on mother is not as acute as before. If the child gets into the nursery group after he turned 2 years old, then the adaptation will pass easier and more smoothly.

Closer to 3 years old, the child has a need to communicate with peers. If earlier the kid engaged an adult in his game as a partner, now he is interested in spending time with his peers. The age of 3–3.5 years old is time for role-playing games to appear. The baby's speech is actively developing. At this age, the child begins to realize himself, which contributes to the 3 year-old behavior crisis. He can compare himself with other children and thereby learns to form a certain pattern of behavior.

From the age of 3, the child literally needs to communicate with peers, so a kindergarten for a child from 3 years old is almost necessary.

What is adaptation?

Адаптация — это приспособление ребенка к условиям группы детского сада, к его режиму и правилам. На адаптацию влияют следующие факторы:

  • Family environment
  • Personal and physiological features of the child
  • Age

Children with experience of interaction with other kids on the playground or in kid clubs, join the team much faster. The key to successful adaptation is the parents’ contact with the nursery teachers and the psychologist, and their common desire to help the child.

Depending on the age of the child, adaptation may take a different amount of time. If the toddler is open for communication, curious and active, then he will get used to the new environment within a month. But there are situations when adaptation is tough and it slows down to 3-4 months. This happens if the baby is shy, the parents are too anxious, or any baby’s physiological features (for example, hydrocephalic syndrome, neurological problems, asphyxia during labor) prevent him from getting used to new circumstances.

How to help the child during the period of adaptation?

If you want to start kindergarten from the age of 1.5, choose groups in the play support center. Many kindergartens now practice such groups, where a psychologist and a nursery teacher work with a couple mother - baby, as a rule, several times a week for 1 hour. Such groups are useful if you want to continue the kindergarten with the play support groups further on, because the baby gets used to the place, to the teacher, and, with time, to the routines, so his adaptation to the nursery will be much faster and more comfortable. At the same time, he has the possibility of constant contact with a close adult (mother, grandmother, nanny), who brings him to the group. It is also not uncommon when children who attend play support center, get together in one group of kindergarten, this fact also creates a safe environment for kids. There are also groups of short-term stay, where the kids are older, about 2.5-3 years old; they stay in the group with nursery teachers for several hours. Such groups are also called adaptation groups.

Важно понимать, что, если Вы оставляете малыша от 1,5 до 2 лет с чужими взрослыми, у него повышается чувство тревоги, он становится капризным. Как правило, дети долгое время остаются заторможенными в новой обстановке, это происходит вследствие эмоционального шока: смена режима дня, новые люди, помещение, отсутствие рядом близких, — всё это осложняет психологическое состояние малыша. Поэтому на первых порах не оставляйте ребенка в детском саду на целый день.

If you are in a situation when the baby has to stay in the group straight away, then:

  • It is very important to talk to the child about the kindergarten: to tell him that there will be a lot of toys and other nice children, he can sleep and eat there, play outside, and then Mommy will take him home. Everything new is always frightening, so the baby should know for sure that his loved ones will come for him. Start to discuss it a month or two before the kindergarten opens.
  • Go to the kindergarten beforehand to get acquainted and to learn more about it. Talk to the nursery teacher; perhaps she will show the group and get across to the child.
  • At the beginning let your baby take his favorite toy with him. It will protect him from feeling lonely among strangers.
  • During the first month do not leave your baby in the kindergarten for a full day; as he gets used, finds friends, increase the time spent in the kindergarten.
  • Make up a farewell ritual. It shouldn’t be long. For example, you kiss the little one and say: “Mom loves you, and she will come for you at 4 o'clock”. Even if the baby is crying and does not want to let you go, always say goodbye. Do not take French leave. This only exacerbates the situation and creates fears.
  • Never tell lies to the child. If you said that you would come for him at 4 o'clock, keep your word. If you could be late, warn the child about this probability and always say that you will come for him. The child is waiting for you and believes you, do not test his trust.

Dear Parents!
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