Introducing your child to preschool can be overwhelming for kids and parents alike. It’s especially hard on kids with SAHMs who aren’t used to going to daycare already. It’s very helpful to prepare your children as much as possible for the changes that lie ahead on the big day. I’m sharing some of the parenting tips that I used last year when my son started preschool. They really helped prepare him for the transition after having spent the first three years of his life at home with me.
Parenting Tips for Introducing Your Child to Preschool
You can go to your local library or bookstore, and find so many excellent books to help prepare your child for preschool; such as books which describe what a typical day may look like at in a classroom setting. Ask your child what they’re most looking forward to about starting preschool, and look for books which focus on that topic. Check out our great list of books that help prepare your child for preschool!.
This one is pretty self-explanatory! Most preschools encourage parents and children to visit for a while. A visit is such a great way for your child to see exactly what he/she can expect once school starts, and allows parents to gauge whether or not the preschool is a good fit for their child. One of the most well-reputed preschools in my area just was not a good match for my son’s needs – and I would not have realized that if we had not visited together.
Something that I found helpful with my son was including him in tasks that had a beginning, a middle, and an end. My son really enjoys baking, so he will help me crack the eggs, add the flour, etc. Afterward, he’ll help roll out the cookies and, once cool; we’ll have a delicious homemade snack. He has also been known to “help” with the laundry, by adding the clothes to the washer, and then helping me put away his clothes when they’re dry.
My son’s preschool assigns jobs to children on their special day, such as helping the teacher distribute the student’s backpacks at the end of the day. My son told me that he loved having a job to do, and it was often what he liked the most about his day! A sense of responsibility and mastering a chore can go a long way towards increasing your child’s confidence at preschool.
Not all kids have siblings or cousins (such as my son), so it’s always been important for me to expose him to social activities, such as playdates etc.. Children can learn so much from interacting with and observing other kids while playing. We are lucky enough to live right across the street from a big park, so I would make sure to go to the park when I knew the local daycares would be there so that my son would be surrounded by other children at a very young age. Whether you hang out at a local park or sign your children up for activities, there is really no limit to opportunities to encourage socialization.
Before my son starting preschool, we implemented a routine that was very similar to the preschool routine: we would get up at a set time; have breakfast; get dressed; etc. As any mom knows, once preschool starts, there’s not much time to dilly-dally in the mornings, so it was important for us that my son learns how to get up and go! For a few weeks, before preschool actually started, we would go out in the mornings, so that he got used to a morning routine. Additionally, we started putting him to bed a little bit earlier (around 7:00 PM), to ensure he was as well-rested as possible once school began.
No Pop Quiz!
As any parent can attest, it can seem downright impossible to get your child to tell you what they’ve done in preschool that day! I soon realized that my daily interrogations once I picked him up were only serving to stress my son out! I took a few steps back, and let him tell me about his day once he was ready to do so. I began to see small changes (the different way he was holding his crayon; humming songs I’d never sung to him; mentioning his teacher periodically; etc.). My son enjoyed showing me what he was able to do rather than telling me, so I started leaving paper and pencils on the dining table and the coffee table. Once in awhile, he would draw and show me something that he had done at school. The fact that he showed me on his own terms and in his own time, seemed to help him grow more confident in his newly acquired skills.
Having your child start preschool is a huge milestone, both for children and parents. Preparing your child and yourself for the transition can build confidence and self-esteem while laying the groundwork for a lifetime of learning opportunities!