Tips for Transitioning to Preschool
A monumental moment in the lives of children is certainly the first day of preschool. Parents anticipate this day for a child’s first two or three years of life. You might remember what it’s like, but your child has no idea. I’ve put together some tips that will help in making the transition to preschool smooth for everyone.
Be Sensitive: Like I said before, you might know what to expect out of preschool, but your child has absolutely no idea what they’re getting into. It’s extremely important to be sensitive to the transition. Your child’s everyday routine is going to be completely changed, and this can be very difficult for some children.
Find the Right School: Not every school is the same, and that goes for preschools as well. You’ll need to research preschools in your area, and spend time learning about them and determining if they’re right for you and your child. I suggest narrowing it down to your top three, then calling to set up an appointment to visit each of the schools. Some parents will bring their child along and let them help in the final decision. Other parents narrow their search down to one school before setting up another appointment for their child to become familiar with the school and the environment.
Prep, prep, prep: Take advantage of the time you have with your child prior to them attending preschool and prep for the big transition. Teach your child to share, to take turns, to be kind and polite, to clean up after themselves, and more. My wife has a playgroup of moms and children of similar ages. They meet once a week to play altogether, and my sons have learned a great deal about social interactions from these experiences. I highly recommend finding a playgroup near you, so your child can learn the proper ways to interact with peers prior to attending preschool.
Separation is Hard. Stay Cool: One of the hardest things about preschool is often the separation anxiety that comes when you turn to walk away. Many children are used to being with their mom or dad all day long, and going to preschool will change that completely. I suggest giving your child something special to take to school with them, something they can keep in their pocket that reminds them of you. That way, when they feel sad, they can pull out their special item and think about you. I’ve also seen many parent/child rituals at the preschool door – those include special songs, handshakes, kisses and rhymes.
Transitioning to preschool can be difficult for children. As always, I suggest keeping a very open line of communication allowing children to express themselves fully.
Good luck and happy learning!
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 6 (with another on the way), offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and theDaddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.