Adoptive children: Considerations before pre-school

October 2, 2013 5 Comments

adoptive children and pre-schoolIt is always an emotional time dropping your kids off at pre-school or nursery for the first time, but with adoptive children, there are additional considerations before committing.

This list is what my wife and I thought about and talked at length about before we unleashed the boy onto the unsuspecting pre-school.

What are the benefits of the pre-school?

The first thing to consider is what the child will get out of going to a pre-school. Adoptive children need a routine and stability, so parents will need to be sure that this jolt away from routine is worth it.

The child needs to be ready, and if there is real concern that the child may react negatively to this change in routine, it may not be the right time.

What is the impact on adoptive children’s attachment?

This is an extension of the above point. Not all adoptive children will be ready for a nursery or pre-school, and sending them could be detrimental to a lot of the hard work already put in. We felt that the wee man was ready, and that sending him a couple of times a week would prove highly beneficial to his development.

The child’s attachment should be paramount in the decision making, and again, we felt his attachment was good and that he would be able to cope with being dropped off and left at pre-school.

If the child is still a bit wary of other people or showing signs of attachment issues, it may not be the best time to leave them.

What is the impact on the adoptive parents?

Our own feelings were certainly a factor when making the decision. A big part of me didn’t want to send him at all on the basis that we had worked so hard for so long to get our son; I didn’t want to share him!

We needed to put his development and wellbeing first and knew that we had to help him socialise, and increase his interaction with other kids.

Does the child have any behavioural issues?

Adoptive children can often have issues with their behaviour which manifest themselves as a result of anxiety.

The adoptive parents have a responsibility to judge this behaviour from their own experience. Starting an adoptive child at pre-school could be just the catalyst for anxiety-led behaviour, and set the child back weeks or even months.

However, the parents need to be careful not to just go for the easy option, so again going back to point one – how do the benefits stack up against the potential problems?

What type of nursery do adoptive children need?

For us, we looked at about half a dozen pre-schools/nurseries and chose one out of the village because of what it could offer our son. We wanted the boy to experience a pre-school that allowed him the freedom of outdoors with the discipline of an organised class (age appropriate of course).

It is always worth advising the nursery that your child is adopted, but ONLY if you feel this knowledge would help the teachers manage your child, not to use ‘adoption’ as an excuse for certain behaviour.

Sometimes there may be something specific that an adoptive child does that if the teachers had the knowledge of how to deal with it from the parents, it would make the child’s life a lot easier when away from their parents.

What changes has the child recently experienced?

As I say in most of my posts aimed at potential or new adopters, one of the main things that adoptive children need is stability. When considering pre-school for your child, it is worth thinking about if they have had any other changes recently.

For example, we have purposely planned moving the boy from our room to his, sending him to pre-school, and potty training at different times. Too much change at one time can lead to a lot of anxiety in the child – again, parents need to judge this for themselves.

Have you recently send your adoptive child to pre-school or nursery? How did it go? What did you consider beforehand? Please feel free to comment below.

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About the Author:

Andrew is an adoptive father, and stay at home dad. Having adopted his son in January 2013, he is a new adoptive parent, but well versed in the adoption process. He is a married, coffee drinker, Xbox addict, and a Marketing graduate. Andrew McDougall is an alias he uses to protect the identity of his adopted son.

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  1. Adoptive parents: A multi-layered approach | theonehandman - Adoption Blog | October 16, 2013
  1. Vicki says:

    I’m sure lots of parents of young children will find this both useful and interesting.

    Thanks for linking up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out.
    Vicki recently posted..Caching and ConkersMy Profile

  2. Sarah says:

    A really well thought out list of considerations. It is a hard decision to make on a lot of levels and one I remember being quite tormented by. However I do feel that on the most sending your child to nursery, even if it’s only one day a week, benefits most families in the long run.

    Thanks for taking part in The Weekly Adoption Shout Out.

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