Preschool preparation is more important than you may believe. If you decide that preschool is the best option for your child, then it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time helping him or her get ready for this new adventure. Here are some tips all preschoolers and their parents should use before the first day of preschool. The goal is to prepare your child for preschool as much as you can and make starting preschool easy and simple for both of you.
Let Him Pick the Preschool Supplies
The first things you’ll need to do is some preschool shopping. Your child will likely need a backpack, lunch bag or box, indoor shoes, and possibly other items recommended by the preschool. By allowing your child to pick her backpack and other accessories, you are helping to foster her independence and decision-making skills. Your child will enjoy this time. (This shopping trip could be a great one-on-one date idea with your preschooler!)
You can also use pretend play in order to boost motor skills and make preschool easier. Practice together at home to help your child do the things he’ll need to do at preschool, like open his backpack, tie his shoes, put on his coat, etc.
Make sure you are excited about preschool too. Your child will pick up on your hesitation, if you are having troubles letting your firstborn (or youngest) go off on their own. Or maybe you have a lot of reasons to homeschool your child and wonder if they need to go to preschool. My oldest daughter attended two years of preschool and then a year of Kindergarten before we started homeschooling. My second daughter did half a year of preschool and then started homeschooling after we moved. For both of them, preschool was the right choice at the right time, just as it might be for your child, even if you want to homeschool them later.
Don’t forget to label the things your child will carry to preschool. Another child may have similar shoes or backpacks, so personalized labels always help. Preschool is also a time to learn about sharing, and your child may take comfort in knowing that certain items are his while other items are shared with his new friends at school.
Take Him to Preschool Before
In early childhood, getting familiar with places and people is essential. Young children need to set up a whole realm around them where they feel comfortable. Some children find it harder than others to transition to new places, people and situations. It may help prepare your child for preschool if you can go before the first day and spend some time there to get familiar with the teacher, place, and toys. If your child is a bit more shy or hesitant about new opportunities, you may want to make her transition to preschool more gradual.
You can play, stay as long as your child wants and enjoy the preschool. Your child may feel more comfortable exploring while you sit nearby or chat with the teachers. You’ll want to talk to your child’s teachers about how to handle the transition on the first day of preschool. They have likely seen a lot of children enter the preschool and can give you tips about whether you should stay to play for a bit or just say goodbye and leave.
You’ll also want to double check with the teachers about what your child needs for his first day of preschool. Yes, there will be a lot of things so a checklist is mandatory. Your child may have lots of questions about preschool. Some of these will be answered by this pre-visit and others you may need to address at home or simply tell your child, “Wait and see!”
Board games can be a great way to start teaching sharing and turn taking before the first day of preschool. These can also provide some fun together-time before your preschooler heads off to spend the day at school without you. If your child is worried about not seeing you all day, take some time to fill her bucket by reading together, playing together, or doing other favourite activities together before or after preschool.
Do It Together
The first day is the most important and preparing all the things for the classroom can be daunting. If your child is attending preschool in the morning, you may want to wake up early to get ready. You two should have a nice breakfast, together of course, to start creating a school-day routine. Children thrive on a good routine and knowing what to expect in their day.
Make sure your child’s bedtime is suitable for their new school routine. If they have to wake up earlier to get to school, they may need to go to bed earlier. Kids do need a lot of time to sleep and school will make them want to sleep even more. Pay attention to how tired your child is after school and adjust bedtime if necessary.
Be ready to provide any health related answers if your toddler has some issues. As you already know, stress in childhood is a big deal so you will want to decrease stress as much as possible. This applies at home and at school. Having a good routine should help decrease your child’s stress, so pay attention to how she’s adjusting to preschool. This should be a fun, exciting time for her.
Review the First Days
Once the first day is over, you two should review all the things that happened. You can practice some more as well and continue preparation for the next day. Some children don’t like the first few days of school so much. If that’s the case, talk to your child about what they didn’t like and try to help him find something he did like. Encourage him to keep trying it and chances are he will start loving preschool eventually. Tell him that he can always stop attending if he decides. Every single child will do this and it is normal.
Hopefully with these tips to prepare your child for preschool, both you and your child enjoy this big new adventure. You’ll be able to give your child a hug and high five at the end of a fun day and hear his stories about new friends, new skills, and new toys.
Did your child attend preschool? How did you help prepare your child for preschool?
Bertha Graham is a professional blogger and she has several books published related to education and children. For years she worked at various schools across the United States and England. Today, she works as a blogger and partially as a professional writer at papersowl.com where she helps students with all kinds of papers. She is also working on a new book focused on children’s education.