Going to preschool is a big event in your child’s life and is bound to come with a mixture of emotions (on your part and theirs). In this post, we talk about how you can help your child get ready for preschool. From how to help them understand why they are going to preschool to morning routines you can use to calm any first day of preschool nerves.
Preschool Season is Here. Here’s How Parents Can Prepare
Preparing for preschool is a milestone achievement for parents and their children. It can be both an exciting yet overwhelming time. It is your job as a parent to make your child’s transition from daycare to preschool as seamless as possible.
One thing that parents must avoid is over-preparing. Yes, we know that sounds counterintuitive when you’re reading an article on how to prepare your child for preschool. But, hear us out.
When you begin to talk to your child about preschool months in advance, this can make it seem like a huge event and make them feel stressed. Instead, starting preschool should be a fun and exciting time.
At Vivvi, we advise that you gradually introduce your child to the concept of preschool a few weeks before they are due to start. Make sure to bring it up in a cheerful and upbeat manner. Perhaps the next time you are going to the playground, you can say something like, “There’s a swing set like that one at your preschool. You’ll enjoy playing on that, won’t you?”
Doing this will get your child used to the concept of preschool without making them feel too overwhelmed in the lead-up. However, that isn’t to say that it will always be an easy transition.
Getting Your Child Ready for Preschool: Top Tips
By now you’ll have checked over a preschool checklist, bought your child a new backpack and any other stationery items that they may need. While this form of preparation is necessary, emotionally preparing your child is even more essential.
Starting preschool is a brand new experience for them. In the first few weeks, they will quickly be making new friends and learning new skills. While these changes are all positive, they can feel scary for your little one. Below are some of our tips to prepare for preschool.
Talk to Your Child About Preschool
Help your child understand what to expect at preschool by talking to them through various preschool activities. For example, you can drive them to their new school and explain where you will be dropping them off and who will be greeting them (e.g. their teacher).
If possible, take a tour of their classroom ahead of time so they will know exactly where they are playing and learning. Reading books about preschool such as ‘Preschool, Here I Come’ by D.J. Steinberg can help your child to envision what being at preschool looks like.
Set Clear Expectations
Oftentimes, in an effort to ensure that our children aren’t scared of trying something new we set expectations too high. Although you want to paint preschool in a positive light, that doesn’t guarantee your child will love it.
Instead, you can set clear expectations about preschool. For example, talk to your child about how there will be teachers there to take care of them, how they will make new friends, and how they will be learning lots of new things. These are all universal truths about preschool.
Develop a New Morning Routine
As you may already know, having a set morning routine helps your child to feel reassured, secure and gives them a sense of independence. Regardless of whether you have an existing morning routine or not, a new routine will be needed once preschool starts.
This is an opportunity for both yourself and your child to spend some quality time with each other at the start of each day. This routine can include helping your child to eat their breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth, and gather together any items that they may need for the day, e.g. their lunchbox or a notebook.
Make sure to start practicing this new morning routine in the weeks leading up to the first day of preschool. This will ensure that your child knows exactly what to expect each morning and will make that transition to preschool much easier.
Spend Quality Time Together
Starting preschool can often mean that you and your child are spending less time with each other each week. That’s why it’s important to carve out time each day that you can both spend some quality time with each other.
Whether that’s playing games with your child once they are home from preschool, reading books with them at bedtime, or even making dinner together. Also, make sure to ask them how their day went and what activities they did. This gives your child the opportunity to tell you what skills they are learning or how they are feeling.
Look Out for Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is completely normal during the first few weeks of preschool, especially when you are dropping them off in the mornings. Seeing your children emotional or upset is never easy but aim to stay positive and calm even if you’re feeling anxious too.
If your child is struggling with separation anxiety, calmly reassure them that you will be there to pick them up at the end of the day. Then make your goodbyes short and sweet. If you linger or delay saying goodbye, this will make both of your anxieties worse.
Although separation anxiety is never pleasant to experience – for both child and parent – it will be gone in a matter of weeks once they are used to preschool.
Helping Your Child Settle Into Preschool: Give It Time
Remember, your child may not settle into preschool straight away. That’s why you must give it time. Make sure that you continue to practice the tips mentioned above and give your child plenty of opportunities to express how they are feeling. If you are concerned, perhaps talk to their preschool teacher and ask if there is anything more you can do to help your child transition better.
Going to preschool is a normal part of growing up, but it can be an overwhelming experience for some children. Make sure to give your child plenty of time, support, and encouragement while you are preparing them for preschool.