Starting preschool is a huge milestone for a child. Most likely, it's your child's first time being in a school-like setting. Schedule changes and new surroundings can be difficult for young children, so it's important for you to help your child adjust. Use these tips to ensure your child has a positive preschool experience.
Discuss the Upcoming Changes
It's important to talk to your child about going to preschool before he or she actually starts. Children tend to transition into new schedules easier if they know what changes to expect, so there shouldn't be any surprises. Be as transparent as possible. To help your child understand what it's like to go to school and keep the conversation fun, consider:
- Reading books or watching TV episodes about the first day of school.
- Draw pictures with your child of school-like settings, and talk about what to expect from a day at preschool.
- Complete activities with your preschooler that are similar to typical preschool activities.
Take It Slow
Many children transition into the preschool setting easier if they are eased into their new schedule. When your child first starts preschool, consider sending him or her to school only two or three days per week. Also, if the preschool sessions are all day long, consider taking your child for only a few hours at a time, slowly increasing the time spent at preschool, until he or she is comfortable staying at preschool all day.
Keep Your Anxiety in Check
Big milestones in a child's life, such as starting preschool, are often emotional triggers for parents. However, it's extremely important for you to keep your anxiety in check. Your child can sense when something is wrong, and you don't want your emotions making the day more difficult for your preschooler. To help you keep it together, start a goodbye ritual with your child — this also makes you leaving easier on him or her. This way, leaving is a faster, easier process. You can break down and cry once you leave if needed. Some fun goodbye rituals include:
- A kiss and a twirl
- A special hug
- Tracing a heart in your preschooler's palm and kissing it — so your child has your kisses to hold while you're gone
- A high five
- A pinky shake
Helping your child adjust to preschool takes time. Just remember, little kids are typically pretty resilient. Before you know it, preschool will be just another part of your child's regular routine. For more information, contact local professionals like Kid's Country Child Care & Learning Center.