If your child is starting Preschool soon, chances are you may be approaching this particular milestone with conflicting emotions. Sure, you’re excited about this new chapter for your child. At the same time, you may feel twinges of sadness about your little one venturing out into the world without you. While these emotions are normal, your child is also feeling a plethora of his/her own emotions, from being proud to be growing up, to worrying about delving into something new altogether. We have compiled 5 Ways to Prepare your child for Preschool to aid parents going through this important chapter below:
#1 Create a healthy regular routine:
Children learn best and thrive on well-established routines. Routines inculcate in children, order, and concepts of time. Established routines help ease transitions and aid children to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
#2 Read books together about starting preschool:
Reading books together can prepare your child to start preschool. This also strengthens your child’s phonics skills and lets their imagination grow! Some wonderful books to start with:
How to be kind in Kindergarten by D.J. Steinburg
Rosie goes to Preschool by Karen Katz
The Twelve days of Preschool by Jenna Lettice
Hello, School! By Priscilla Burris
The Night before Preschool by Natascha Wing
#3 Do not over-prepare your child for Preschool:
If you feel that your child may be ready for preschool, take a more balanced approach. You may talk about preschool and the various elements of it for a few weeks before hand rather than months before it. This results in a more balanced approach. Err on the side of caution and try not to make too big a deal out of this milestone’ you want your child to look forward to school rather then end up being worried about it.
#4 Role play and games:
These skills include unzipping her coat, hanging her coat on a hook, putting on her backpack, fastening her shoes. For example, you might want to have a “race” with your child to see how quickly she can put on her shoes. When you play school together, you can give your child the chance to practice taking off her coat, zipping her backpack closed, and sitting “criss-cross apple sauce.”
Take turns being the parent, child, and teacher. Act out common daily routines, such as saying good-bye to mommy and/or daddy, taking off your coat, singing songs, reading stories, having Circle Time, playing outside, and taking naps.
#5 Find ways to make the transition enjoyable:
As you and your little one prepare for school together, try and think of ways to make your child feel relaxed and happy. If your child is bringing a snack to school, try shopping for it together and let him/her pick it out. You can also go shopping for new school items like a backpack or a water bottle! It would be great also, if your child’s preschool allows them to bring in a photograph of their family to their classroom for the first few days.
Your child may also have some of their own anxieties about starting school. Regardless of whether it is before or after they start school, read on, for some tips to help them get ready.
Listen to your child’s worries. It may be tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on but it is pertinent to let your child know that their worries have been heard. No matter how big or small you may think they are, your child’s worries about preschool can significantly influence their experience here.
When you allow your child to share her worries, you can help her think through how to deal with them. For example, if she is worried about missing you, the two of you can make a book of family photos to keep in her cubby and look at when she is lonely.
As much as 3-year-olds may talk, most are not yet able to fully explain how they are feeling or what they are worried about. Another common reaction as children take a big move forward is to actually move backward in other areas. It is natural to be frustrated by this regressed behavior, and you may be concerned that if you do these things for him, he won’t go back to doing them himself.
Rest assured, teachers have many years of experience with helping families make the shift to preschool. This is a big change and your child may, quite understandably, feel sad and a little scared. It is important to trust the process.
Need some further tips? Don’t forget to post them below and our passionate teachers with years of experience will get back to you.