As your little one takes their first steps into preschool, it’s understandable that you may feel an array of emotions: liberating pride to see them growing up, contentment that they’re embarking on a new adventure, and bittersweet sadness that all of your alone time with them is coming to an end. Your child is likely feeling similarly, eager for the thrill of a new experience but anxious about leaving their comfort zone and beloved parent behind. Preparing your tot for preschool can be daunting; with these prep tips, however, you can ensure that this transition is as calm and positive as possible.
Play Pretend With Your Child
Take turns pretending to be a parent, child, and teacher. This can be a fun way to help children transition into preschool. It helps make routine practices less daunting. For instance, say goodbye to each other like you would at school days as a comforting reminder that mommy or daddy will return at the end of the day. Sing songs and teach your child fun animal sounds. Take breaks throughout activities – go outside, explore – insert some playtime here as well.
Read Books To Your Toddler
What better way to introduce your little learner to the beauty of books than to consistently read with them daily? This daily literacy routine can foster a love for reading and the growth of an expansive vocabulary. So how can you do this? Offer different reading materials that can be used on the go, like in the car or outside in nature. Keep a constant stock of material in easily accessible places such as the bedroom or even a basket full of books right outside!
Practice Self-Help Skills
Getting ready for school isn’t just about brushing your teeth and combing your hair; it’s also about developing skills such as unzipping a coat, hanging it up, putting on a backpack, and fastening shoes. Adding some excitement to these mundane activities can help your kiddo have fun while learning! You can have little races with them to see who can put on their shoes the fastest. Teach hand hygiene by singing the ABCs when washing their hands in the bathroom.
Practice Fine Motor Skills At Home
Incorporating crafts into your playtime can make a world of difference when helping your child develop their fine motor skills. Try creating something together by snipping colorful pieces of paper, letting them color it, and gluing it all down to see the final result. Don’t forget about other essential fine motor skills like tying shoes–you don’t want them showing up for their first day of preschool with untied laces!
Part of the excitement and even the worry of starting a new school year is getting to know all the other students. To make this process easier, arrange a playdate with children from your child’s class. While your child and friend take part in creative activities like painting, baking, or playing with play-dough, it gives them a chance to become new friends and practice social skills before school starts and have a familiar, friendly face to play with when you leave.
Get Your Child Used to Cleaning up and Putting Away At Home
Tidying up after a play session and true cleaning practices at an early age is essential. This will get your child accustomed to keeping their space organized, something that is expected of them when beginning preschool. Getting your child used to such habits as matching toys with their designated containers, putting away clothes after changing or putting away their artwork in a safe place after completion may not seem like much – and it’s easy to give up when your child doesn’t “get it” right away – but persevere!
Schedule A Tour of the School With Your Child
Visiting the school ahead of time before the first day can help ease a child’s apprehension about entering the new environment. Taking an hour or two to introduce them to the teacher, let them explore their classroom, play on the playground and walk around campus can give them a slight head start in familiarizing themselves with their new school.
Stay With Your Child For Awhile During First Few Days
Stay with your child for the first 15-30 minutes and show them around the classroom, let them meet some of their new classmates and take part in some play activities. The key is to watch for signs that your child has settled in and found comfort within their new environment – allowing you both to leave feeling confident. If necessary, you can ask your child’s teacher if they can spend a short amount of time with your son or daughter after you have said goodbye as this adds an additional sense of security for your little one.
Listen to Your Child’s Worries
At the start of a new school year, it’s understandably normal to feel a mix of emotions like excitement, curiosity, and even worry. You can help your little one express and understand these feelings by having an honest conversation with them about starting something new. Let them know that it’s okay to have various emotions; with your reassurance and loving support, they’ll be ready to take on whatever this new experience has in store!
Meet With the Teacher
Taking the time to meet your child’s new teacher ahead of their first day of school can be a great way for your child to start off their educational journey on a positive note. It’s an opportunity for you and your little learner to get acquainted with the teacher and ask any questions you may have about the upcoming course material and curriculum. You want to make sure that your child is feeling safe and confident.
Practice the Same Nap Routines at Home
Consistency is key when it comes to routines with preschoolers. By practicing and instilling the same routines at home as they have in their preschool classroom, children become aware of what to expect every day. Implementing the same nap times helps them adjust even further, as a routine wake-up or sleep time consistently can mean both a better day’s rest and night’s rest as well.
Enroll Your Child In Preschool at ChildsPlay Learning Center
At ChildsPlay Learning Center, we believe that preschoolers should be given the opportunity to explore and foster their independence. Our preschool rooms create a safe and fun environment for children to learn new life skills. Through both outside and inside activities, play materials, and hands-on learning lessons, our childhood educators expose preschoolers to various stimuli that encourage them to build up their self-confidence. We emphasize the critical development of language skills alongside other necessary skills such as math and art, which will better prepare your child for Kindergarten when they are ready – all well as encouraging socializing through a play-based curriculum among other preschoolers. Don’t hesitate to schedule a tour with our day care today!