Starting preschool is a big milestone for any child. A lot of parents and kids are not completely ready for this transition. As a parent, you may feel excited and worried about your child going to school at the same time. Your child, on the other hand, could also be feeling anxious about being separated from you and starting something unfamiliar. The changes and adjustments are not easy, but here are some helpful strategies to follow for a smooth transition.
Spark your child’s excitement by focusing on the fun they will have when you introduce the concept of preschool. You can play pretend to explore the idea of preschool. Act out the daily routines that will take place once school starts. Take turns playing the roles of a parent and child, as well as a student and teacher. Act out getting ready and leaving for school. Also pretend being in a classroom and do some singing, playing and storytelling. This would reduce their anxiety and your toddler would see that it’s actually fun to be in preschool.
Use games to practice self help skills
Preschool is a place where children start learning about independence. But that is also something you can start teaching them at home. Encourage self-reliance by using some games to practice self help skills. Allow them to do simple tasks such as putting on their backpack, wearing socks and hanging their coat. But make it fun by creating a game out of these tasks. For example, you can tell them that a surprise awaits (like a big hug or little snack) if they can quickly put on their socks or fasten their shoes. This will give them the chance to practice some of the important skills they will use in preschool.
Establish a routine
Following a routine can make it easier for your toddler to transition into the structure of a preschool. Established schedules provide kids opportunities to act responsibly. Even if they do not understand the concept of time, they will learn routines and daily schedules, order and sequencing. This helps children get mentally prepared for the day ahead. Start establishing a consistent routine at home at least a month before preschool starts. Set a schedule for eating, playing, napping, reading and so on.
Make time for reading
Home is the best place to foster your child’s love for reading. Introduce books and reading to your toddler while they’re young. It will enhance their vocabulary and provide them with imaginative experiences that will shape them into creative thinkers. Make it a daily habit to read to your child. Also invest in good children’s literature that will provide your child rich language skills that they will need to succeed in school.
Make use of teachable moments
Young kids are always curious about the world and their surroundings. Their curiosity opens doors for teachable moments. Find these tiny opportunities each day to slip in simple life lessons that your toddler can understand. Let them understand and see values like kindness and empathy. Help them gain awareness of others by asking them how they would feel or how they would respond to certain situations. For example, you can ask them how they would respond to a neighbor or friend who is having a difficult time. Talk about the situation and ask them how they would feel if they were in that person’s place. Teachable moments occur naturally. And when they do, make the most of the moment and teach your child the special things about life.
Listen to your child’s worries
Before you start to assure your child that preschool is fun, take time to listen to your child’s worries first. Let them know that they are heard and understood. No matter how big or small, your toddler’s anxiety and worries about preschool will impact their experience. Let them know that it’s normal and okay to feel excited and worried at the same time. Share a similar experience when you were also scared when starting something new. Share how you dealt with those feelings and allow them to think of how to deal with their own, too.
Preparing for preschool may be daunting for you and your child. But these tips should help make the process more manageable. If you’re looking for the best preschool in Langhorne to send your child to, please visit Children Central.