Entering preschool is a milestone for kids. It is the first time they step outside the house without their parents and experience the world on their own. This can be a big change. While some children happily start preschool, eager to make friends, it is also normal for others to feel separation anxiety. Suddenly, a “baby” is expected to make more choices on their own, communicate with strangers, learn new skills, and have a social circle! It’s natural to get excited and nervous, for both children and parents.
The good thing is that there are tons of ways you can help your child adjust to preschool, easing their transition into this new world. After all, the first few learning years of a child are extremely important, so the easier they transition into it, the more enriched the learning experience. Here are five easy yet effective tips that will pave the way for a happier preschool kick-off for your kid.
Talk About the Transition and Calm the Jitters
You can’t just wake your kid up one day and send them to school. Children need to learn beforehand about the upcoming transition. As a parent, you need to build excitement and optimism in your child about school. Tell them about all the fun they are going to have, the friends they’re going to make, and the exciting new things they will learn. Take them shopping for their backpack, lunchbox, and school supplies, so that they can get excited. Make sure that even if you feel nervous, you don’t portray it to your child.
Visit the School with Your Child
Your child needs to get familiar with the place they are going to spend the next couple of years in. Plan a visit to the school with your child before their first day. Explore the premises, including the classrooms, playground, washrooms, etc. Familiarize them with the staff, especially their potential teachers. Meet the kids who are already enrolled and make friends with them. Once your child is familiar with the new learning environment, their first day will be much easier.
Familiarize Them with Learning Activities
Preschool is a good time to learn about enriching habits. However, many of these can be completely new to a kid. To make sure your child does not have a hard time learning them in school, start practicing them at home. Assign clean-up time, teach them how to wait in line, take turns to talk, or simply move from one task to another. You can also teach songs, poems, numbers, alphabets, finger plays as well as a new language.
Create a New Routine
When your child starts pre-school, their entire routine will change and so will yours. You need to practice this routine long before your child’s first day of school so that the transition is easier. Plan a new bedtime that will provide a good night’s sleep to both you and your child, try picking your clothes together at night and even have breakfast together.
Not every day will be perfect. Your will make mistakes, have conflicts, and overall have rough days. In situations like these, they need to manage adversity. We understand that they are probably too young to solve all problems on their own, however, you can encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and apologize when needed. Shift their focus towards being genuine, empathetic, and helpful.
As parents, it is natural to feel both happy and sad when sending kids to preschool. It can be difficult even when if it is for a few hours. While there is not much you can do about that, you can at least make sure that your child’s transition to preschool is easy.