Getting Prepared for Preschool
Aug 25, 2016
Getting Prepared for Preschool
The last days of summer is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about starting preschool again! Whether this is your child’s first time attending school or they’re moving up to a class, it’s all a big transition. Learning new routines, getting to know new friends and teachers, and being away from home are just a few of the adjustments that need to be made. You can start preparing now to make those first weeks a bit easier for your child (and yourself!) Here are some helpful suggestions on how to help ease into preschool with less tears and fears.
- Start off your mornings with a loving routine that allows time to spend together before rushing off to the classroom. It could be as simple as reading a favorite book to your child while eating breakfast or singing special songs on the ride to school.
- Make sure your child is familiar with the school. Drive there several times during the weeks leading up to the first day. Play on the playground (if allowed), look at pictures of the classroom, take a tour of the building, or see if you can arrange the teacher to meet with your child prior to starting.
- Start conversations about the beginning of school. Build excitement and decrease anxiety as you talk about new friends, new toys to explore, having snack time and lunch, playing on the playground, doing fun art projects and singing songs together. If you know any of the children in his class, mention that he will see or play with them as well. Try to end these conversations with a reassurance that you will always come back for them: “And after you finish lunch and play on the playground, mommy will come pick you up. We can go home and have a special snack and play.”
- Reading special books about starting preschool can help prepare your child for this transition. A few suggestions are:
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- It’s Time for Preschool by Esme Raj Codell
- First Day of School by Anne Rockwell
- Practice saying goodbye. If your child is beginning school for the first time this may be the biggest challenge. Explain that he’s going to school to learn, make new friends, and have lots of fun. Arrange small separations before school starts in order to practice saying goodbye, these separations can even be practiced at home with familiar caregivers. Develop a goodbye routine, such as a hug and a saying like “I love you. Mommy will be back after you finish lunch with your friends at 1:00!”
- Have little comfort tokens stored away in your child’s backpack in case they have difficulty lasting the day without you. You can send a picture of yourself, a favorite stuffed animal, or a drawing you made together. Make sure to discuss your plans with the teacher so everyone is on the same page.
- The day before school starts be sure to talk about what’s happening the next day. You may have to do this for the first week or two-every night-to help with the transition. “ Tomorrow you will be going to school with Ms. Star. You and mommy will drive in the red car to school and hang your backpack on the hook when we get inside. Then I will give you a great big hug and push you on the swings for a few minutes before we say our special goodbye”.
Following these tips can help, and before you know it your child will be running into school each morning with out even looking back .
Parenting Tip: To get your child to talk about their day, ask open ended questions such as “Tell me about what you had for snack today.”