4 Tips For Preparing Your Child For Preschool

Posted on: 7 July 2017

Preschool is a huge step in a young child's life. For many kids, preschool is the first time they are away from home and their parents during the day. Even children who were already in daycare may struggle to adjust to the more structured and academically focused environment of preschool. Some children experience separation anxiety or feel overwhelmed when first attending preschool.  Luckily, there are specific things you can do to help prepare your child for preschool and make their transition much easier:

Choose the Right Preschool

Choosing the preschool that is the best fit for your child's unique personality will go a long way toward making their transition easier. When researching preschools, always keep your child's temperament in mind. For example, a shy or introverted child may be happiest at a preschool with smaller class sizes and plenty of quiet play time built into the day. A very active child may prefer a preschool with lots of activities, games, sports, and playground time.

There are also preschools that focus on the arts and creativity, on spending time in the outdoors, or on bilingual education. Explore your options and pick a preschool you feel confident will be a great match for your unique child and their personality and interests.

Set Up Playdates

Learning to socialize with classmates all day can be intimidating at first. One way to help counteract this is to set up regular playdates before your child starts preschool. Once your child is enrolled, their teacher may be willing to share contact information for some of the other parents so your child has a chance to play with and get to know their new classmates before school starts.

If this isn't an option, simply setting up playdates with kids your child's age from your neighborhood or from your library's story time is great practice for all the structured play and socializing they will be doing in preschool.

Visit the School

Most preschools offer visiting hours, open houses, or entire days where you and your child can visit the preschool and become acquainted with it. Your child should have a chance to meet and talk to their preschool teacher, tour the classroom and see where everything is, check out the educational toys and books available, and even play on the playground.

Spending time at the preschool and becoming familiar with it will make the entire concept of preschool much less confusing and scary to your child. Make sure the visit is full of positive and fun experiences so that your child will associate going to preschool with positive memories.

Talk About Preschool as Much as Possible

If your child seems nervous about attending preschool, you may be tempted to avoid the topic altogether. This is usually a mistake, however, since avoiding the subject will only make starting preschool feel more jarring and sudden. A better approach is to talk about preschool often, in detail, and with an upbeat and positive attitude.

Tell your child the kinds of fun and exciting things they will get to do and learn once they start preschool. Tell them you're proud of them for being such a big kid. Encourage them to pick out cute school supplies and a lunchbox for preschool. Let them ask questions and encourage them to tell you if they are worried about anything. By the time preschool actually starts, your child will be very used to the idea and most likely will be starting to really look forward to it.

Starting preschool doesn't have to be scary or stressful. By following these tips, you can help ease your child's transition to preschool and turn it into a positive experience.