My 3 year old will be starting preschool in the fall, is there any prep work I can do to make the transition easier?
That is a terrific question! Yes, there are several great things you can do to help transition your child to preschool. It is both an exciting and nerve-racking time for both parent and child. One of the best things to do to get ready for preschool is to make sure your child actually visits his or her new school. A good establishment will allow this to happen; what a great opportunity for them to meet their new teachers. Let them see their new classroom. This is key when it comes to preschool prep. Kids need to familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. Some schools will often set up a slow start, such as an hour visit the first day where you the parent stays with them. The second day is a half day visit and on the third day the child stays for the whole time. Some programs will not charge you for the slow start. If your program doesn’t accommodate this type of arrangement, drive by the school several times prior to the 1st day, set up a time to at least visit the classroom with your child.
Read books about going to preschool, there are some great picture books out there. Here are a few titles to look for at your local library.
- Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book; by Lucy Cousins
- The Kissing Hand; by Audrey Penn and Ruth E. Harper
- Llama Llama Misses Mama; by Anna Dewdney
- Practice self-help skills at home. Encourage your child to try first before doing it for them. Better yet give them just enough help to make them successful.
- Have your child pick out a new back-pack and lunchbox for the first day of school.
- Have your child help choose what to wear. (Keeping in mind that they may get dirty.)
- On the big day try to not rush, allow you and your child time to eat and prepare without hurrying which often leads to conflict.
- Bring a small comfort item. Something small, soft that smells like you and home.
- You may feel anxious about leaving your child. Try not to show it. If you display confidence, trust and a sense of calmness your child will pick up on that and exude the same types of feelings.
- One of the hardest things is to keep your good-bye short and sweet. Often if you linger it will be much harder to leave. Always say good-bye, never sneak out. Sneaking out doesn’t give your child a sense of trust!!
Feel confident in the preschool that you chose and remember all the benefits your child will be gaining from this experiences. Make an effort to get to know your child’s teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The teachers are not just there for your child but for the family.