Once your baby starts to walk and talk, the next thing on your mind will be – how do I prepare my child for a preschool? How soon these babies grow! Going to preschool is a major milestone for your child. Your child will finally take a step forward towards the real world. And, no matter what they say, it is not just the child but also the parents that need to brace up for this major change.
As a parent, this phase will bring in a rush of mixed emotions. On one side, you will be happy and excited about your child’s bright future, while on the other end you will worry about how your child will face the world without you. Insecurity and separation anxiety will stare you both, parents’ and child at your face.
Children are closely attached to their parents, who are available to them 24X7. To toddlers, their world begins and ends with their parents and primary caregivers. Stranger anxiety and apprehension as to how your child will fit in the new phase is natural. To ensure a smooth transition to schooling phase, it is essential to prepare your child for preschool.
And we will try to help you with the same.
12 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Child for Preschool
The first question you need to find answer to is – whether your child ready for preschool? As a parent, worrying about the preschool transition is a normal feeling. After all, it is a major milestone for both your child and yourself.
There are a few simple things that parents can do in order to prepare child for preschool. Here are 12 tips to help you prepare your child for preschool:
1. Playing group games can help you prepare your child for preschool
As your child starts attending playschool, he will make new friends and play with them in groups. Because it will not be only him needing the toys, a sense of how sharing works can be inculcated early on by regularly playing group games with your child.
It doesn’t matter whether they are indoor board games or outdoor physical activities, as long as your child plays in a group. Playing games in teams helps to inculcate the sense of togetherness and team spirit in your child. Your child will learn to express himself better with his peers. It will also create a group environment that is similar to preschools.
2. Introduce timetables
Once your child starts preschool, he/she will have to follow a definite schedule given by the preschool. If your child is not used to routines, he/she will resist it, which could make it difficult for your child to adjust. Routines leave fewer chances of tantrums.
Introducing timetables for simple activities such as play time, studying, eating, sleeping, watching tv, etc. will help them get used to routines in preschool as well. A routine is the basis of preparation for school for your child.
3. Enhance your child’s language skills
While preparing your child for preschool interviews, it is important to equip them with the necessary communication skills. Ask questions to your child more often and make them ask you questions too. Don’t give them water because they said ‘mummm’, give them water when they ask for it. Remember, the nanny’s at playschool do not know these dummy names for things.
Start by not using baby-language with them anymore. Not only will this help in improving your child’s vocabulary, but will also help in boosting their confidence. This will also help your child to be more forward and ask their teachers questions more often.
4. Teach them to take care of their possessions
One of the biggest complaints that parents have is that their child keeps losing things at school. Thus, it is important to teach your child to pack up properly before leaving school to make sure that nothing gets left behind. You can begin by scattering their things on the floor and teaching them to pick them up and put it in their bags. This will help them become more responsible and aware of their belongings.
5. Pretend play- to prepare your child for preschool
In order to make the preschool transition easier, parents can pretend play with their child. The parent can enact the role of a teacher and perform the activities that the preschool teacher would normally perform. Read a story, play with toys and maybe let them eat a snack on their own. Use role-playing as a medium to introduce school’s environment to your child.
When your child joins preschool, it will be easier for your child to adapt to the preschool environment. It will also help your child in seeing his/her teacher as someone they can trust.
6. Involve them in preschool preparation activities
Before preschool begins, you will get immersed in shopping for items for your child’s preschool. Make sure you have ticked all the things to do before the first day of school. When you’re going shopping for preschool, involve your child in it too. Let them pick their own backpack, lunch box, water bottle, etc.
Your child will begin to feel all grown up seeing the new goodies and will eagerly look forward to joining preschool. You may also let them wear their favourite outfit on the first day of preschool to get them more excited.
7. Take them to playgroups
There are many communities of mothers that plan playgroups with other parents. A playgroup will create a similar environment for your kid to that of a preschool. Your child will learn sharing, draw attention to himself and talking to others beyond their immediate family members.
Playing with other children of their age will help them feel more comfortable in bigger groups. Your child will also make new friends and learn to socialize. Kids learn best when they are with other children.
8. Teach them to share attention
If your child is the only child in the family, he/she must be used to getting your undivided attention at home. However, in preschools, teachers may not be able to give individual attention to each student all the time. Hence, it is important that your child learns to share attention with the other students of the class.
If you are engrossed in work and your child is demanding attention, take time to respond. Don’t let them get used to gaining attention all the time.
9. Send them on sleepovers
Sending your child on overnight stays at your in-law’s place or your relatives’ is a good way to prepare your child for preschool. Your child needs to get used to an environment where you aren’t present.
Spending some time apart from your child with help them get used to being apart from you. Though it will be heart-breaking to know that your child will miss you less, it will help them focus on the activities of preschool.
10. Start regulating their habits
Parents must ensure that their child is mentally and physically prepared for preschool. Monitor your child’s sleep cycles and make them wake up early in the morning. Time how much time it takes to bathe them and get them ready for school. Your child may resist such changes at first and hence it is advisable to start incorporating these habits a week or two before preschool begins.
Some other important habits to keep in mind is to make sure your child washes his/her hands before and after eating, informs you that he/she wants to go to the washroom, knows when it is breaktime, etc.
11. Tell stories about preschool
There are many preschool stories available which help children get more comfortable with the idea of preschool. Before going to sleep, you may read to your child and tell them happy stories about preschool. If your child has passed the phase of story time, you may show your child interactive videos of children enjoying at preschool. This would help your child to understand the preschool environment better.
12. Take a tour of the preschool
The preschool is going to be a new environment for your child. Adjusting to a new environment is never easy, especially for children. In order to make this transition easier, take a tour of the preschool with your child. Show your child around and introduce him/her to his teacher. Let your child spend some time observing the preschool. This will instil a sense of comfort in them and the preschool will no longer feel like an alien environment to them.
Things To Do Before the First Day of School
Before the first day of school, it is important to see how your child is feeling. Ask your child how he/she feels about their first day of school. If they are nervous, try to cheer them up by telling them how good an experience it is going to be. As a parent, you need to make sure that all the things for preschool preparation are ticked off. Here’s a checklist of the things to do before the first day of school:
- Make sure that your child’s books, bag pack, water bottle and lunch box are labelled with their name and section.
- Ensure that your child goes to bed in time. It is crucial for your child to have a good night’s rest before the first day of school.
- Check whether your child’s bag has all the necessary items mentioned by the school or teacher.
- Decide what to make for breakfast beforehand.
- Make sure that your child’s outfit is clean and properly ironed.
While you prepare your child for preschool, it is important that your child looks forward to the beginning of this new chapter. If your child is resistant at first, try to understand the underlying reasons. Keep in touch with their teachers to track their progress. Once your child adjusts to preschool, it will be hard taking them back home from school.