So it’s time for your baby to be off to school. Just the thought of that can be hard after caring for your baby for what seems to only be a few short years. But it’s a journey many of us have to make. Starting school is definitely a a transition but it doesn’t have to be hard. When my son started, I wanted to make sure he was ready. I didn’t want to drop off an anxious child on the first day of school. I knew that wouldn’t be good for anybody involved. As a preschool teacher, I receive new kids each year and the process is not always easy in the beginning, but there are some things that could make it better. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your child for preschool.
1. Talk to your child daily about their big day of starting school.
Children love structure and routines. They like to know what’s coming next. Speak to them about starting preschool. Tell them when they will start, talk to them about what to expect, hand how fun it’s going to be. It is a great idea to begin a countdown with them so when the day comes they’re excited and not nervous or afraid. They will probably build up their own excitement just by talking about it. You want them to be happy about their new school.
2. Take your child to see their new school and new teacher on a few occasions.
It is important that you are not just dropping your child off at a random place and expecting them to be okay. Take your child to meet their teacher and their new friends before school starts. That will help them to adjust well on their first day. They will be coming to a place they have seen before and may already be comfortable with.
3. Start working with your child at home.
Kids love to participate in class by showing what they know. Working with them at home will boost their confidence to do this. This will also be a help to the educational partnership between you and your child’s teacher. Now I know as a busy mom sometimes it can be hard to find the time, but find 15-20 minutes a day to work with your child. I do this at home with my toddlers and it works out great. I use, Leapfrog, ABCmouse, Youtube, and home made learning activities for them and it’s great. Programs like Leapfrog and ABCmouse are great for using on a tablet on the go. It keeps them quiet and busy learning. It’s just like they are playing the games they love but they are learning at the same time. So for a busy mother like me, it’s perfect.
4. Bring a lovey or picture of the family.
Your child can look at it throughout the day. It is normal for your child to start missing you throughout their first few days of preschool. Having a picture of a special toy can comfort them during those times. Talk to the teacher about allowing them a few minutes with it during the day if needed.
5. Make your goodbye short and sweet.
If you have done the above your child should be okay. Smile and reassure your child how great their day is going to be. Give them a hug and kiss, turn them over to their teacher and leave. Simple. If your toddler is having a hard time, do not allow it to upset you. Drop them off just as you would if they were not upset. You must show your child you trust their teacher to care for them, for your child to trust them too. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your long extended goodbye at drop-off is making it worse.
When you know how to prepare your child for preschool it makes the transition easier. Your child will know what to expect and that will make them much happier than if they are not.