Steps you can take now to prepare your child for preschool
Many children throughout Fresno and Clovis will soon be embarking on one of the first big steps in their young life, starting preschool. For many, preschool is less than two months away. Here are things you can do today to prepare your child for preschool, their first major life transition.
While many parents are doing the obvious to prepare their child for preschool by working on the basic skills such as reading, playing and exploring, there are additional activities that can be added to the mix. Additional activities include going on nature walks, working on puzzles and visiting the library.
Just as important as preparing your child intellectually for preschool is the need to prepare them emotionally. Here are a few tips to help with the process of transitioning your child from home to preschool.
Preparation before preschool starts
The following are activities you can start now, long before your child actually starts preschool.
Acting it out
. Role playing or pretending is the way that many young children learn important life skills. Use pretend play to prepare them for preschool. Acting out such things as learning to hang up their backpacks, taking naps, working with others, taking turns, playing games, and using puppets are fun role playing activities you can play with your child.
Express and acknowledge feelings.
It is natural for human beings to feel anxiety when preparing for a new experiences. Your child starting preschool is no exception. You can help your child by encouraging them to express their feelings. Listen closely and acknowledge their fears. Along with feelings of anxiety, you may notice changes in their behavior. Children may regress in one area as they prepare for developmental growth in another. With the proper support, the changes should be temporary for your child.
Work on self-help skills
. The beginning of preschool marks a big period in your child’s young life when independence takes on a larger focus. Help your child learn to master important basic tasks on their own such as using the restroom, washing their hands, cleaning up after themselves and putting their shoes and socks on.
Shift your schedule around.
As your child goes through the first few weeks of preschool, make whatever changes are necessary in your routines to help the transition. Make it a goal to create a calm and peaceful environment at home. Limit media in your house as your child gets used to their new schedule and put them to bed at a reasonable hour. It is also helpful to spend time outdoors, weather permitting and offer your child a healthy breakfast. Developing predictable and consistent themes for your child in the first few weeks of school helps to make the transition to preschool happen quicker and all the more smoothly.
Preparing once your child starts preschool
There are additional things you can do to make your child’s transition into preschool all the smoother.
Visit the preschool
. Visit your child’s classroom and meet their teacher a few days before school begins. Show your child where the schedule is posted, talk about what to expect throughout the day and show them where they will store their backpack and personal things. This is a great way to build excitement and anticipation for some children.
. As the first day of school quickly approaches, make sure your child has all the clothing that they need, backpacks and supplies. This is also a great time to get your child excited about their new experience. Set aside time to review all of paperwork sent home the first day of school.
Leaving your child the first day of school.
Make sure your child arrives to school on time. Most preschool classes structure the morning arrival time with fun activities which allow the children to meet and greet their friends. It is important children have the opportunity to play before the class begins. Arrival time activities help children transition to a busy day of preschool activities. As you leave your child, offer words of encouragement and tell them how you will be back to pick them up in just a few hours. Quick goodbyes are best.
. Some children develop independence quicker than others. Keep in touch with their teacher to see if they are struggling to say goodbye to you. Our teachers have a great deal of experience and will work with you to develop a plan to help your child. Always tell your child that you are leaving and try to be prompt when picking up your child at the end of their day.
Your child’s experience in preschool helps to define the type of experience that they will have the rest of their academic career. With a little planning and preparation, you can help the transition for your child be a positive, confidence-building experience that will shape them the rest of their lives.