Top 5 Tips How To Prepare Your Child For Preschool!
The majority of parents already have their child’s name down on their chosen local preschool, but for those who don’t there is still time to contact their local preschools and check availability. Parents should visit the preschool and chat to the manager about how it operates, start time, finish times, lunch policy, the typical daily routine of children and whether the service is part of the ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme) scheme and if there are optional extras to consider. We have listed a top 5 tips how to prepare your child for preschool for you!
1. Don’t Overprepare
“There’s no need to start preparing your child for preschool months in advance” says Silvana Clark, a preschool teacher in Bellingham, Washington and the author of 600 Tips For Early Childhood Directors. Some well-meaning parents begin talking about preschool and building it up too far ahead of time, and by the time school starts, the child feels this is a huge event in her life, which can be overwhelming to a little one. Instead, start talking about preschool in a casual, upbeat manner about two to three weeks before class starts. For example, if you drive by a playground you say, “When you go to preschool, you’ll have a slide like that one” or “There’s your school. I’ll walk in with you right by that blue door. Your teacher, Miss Suzie, will be there.” This lets your child know what to expect and gives her something to look forward to.
2. Talk to your child about preschool
Talk to your child about preschool but resist the temptation of hyping it up too much as the child might be totally underwhelmed with the reality. Refer to the teachers – who you’ve most likely already met – by their first names and tell your child about the other children, the toys, the painting, the play dough and the kind of activities you know that will interest them. Many children have already visited the preschool in advance of term start. If not, you could ask a child you know in the neighbourhood who has attended the group to give your child a rundown on what it’s like. Focusing on the positive aspects of course!
3. Stick With Morning and Bedtime Routines
If done consistently, routines give the preschooler a sense of belonging and reassurance, and provide parents with frequent opportunities to connect with their child, so it’s best to be available, attentive, and responsive to your child’s needs. An early-morning routine can include helping your child make her bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and hair, and assemble personal items. Young children typically love a Good Morning chart with the tasks listed in order and a picture next to each item to provide a visual reminder for what is expected of them. Some preschool classrooms have similar daily schedules, which help prepare and organize your child. Bedtime means sleeping in a dark room alone, which can often stir up nighttime fears. A comforting routine before bedtime can include: bathing, changing into pajamas, reading a book, brushing teeth, saying prayers, discussing the day’s events, singing a song, giving hugs and kisses, and “tucking in.” These tasks add closure to the day, settle down a restless child, and provide additional bonding.
4. Make a daily routine
Dig out that induction letter you got from your preschool manager with details about school bags, timetable, healthy lunches etc. and make sure you are organised in advance, so that you are not unduly stressed on the first few days. Will you walk or drive decide in advance? Make sure the school-bag and lunch box you choose are easy to manage and think about the best clothes for your child to wear. That doesn’t mean their Sunday best. It means clothes your child can play in, without fear of paint splashes and clothes that are easy to manage when visiting the toilet.
5. Look Out for Separation Anxiety
It’s perfectly natural for children to experience separation anxiety during the first few weeks when they’re dropped off at school. Be prepared for a few tears, but stay positive so that your child doesn’t pick up on any anxious feelings that you may have about leaving her. On the drive to school, let your little one know how her day will proceed so that she knows what to expect. When you drop her off, calmly assure her that you will return at the end of the day. Keep your goodbyes short and sweet. Don’t linger, as that will only make the separation more difficult for both you and your child. Once your child adjusts to the new school setting, goodbyes will be much easier.