Preschool opens up a whole new world to a child. It’s a time when a toddler blossoms into a preschooler. New friends, teachers, skills, socialization, and activities await.
But, of course, the transition to preschool (and many other changes in life) may be difficult.
What are some ways to ease the transition to preschool for your little one?
Visit the preschool in advance.
Schedule a tour or visit in the summer before your toddler starts school there. Most preschools will have an orientation or pre-visit event at the end of summer. This can really help ease the transition.
If it’s not possible to visit the inside of the preschool consider trying to visit the playground outside – even more than once during the summer.
These visits will give your child a sense of familiarity with the school.
Read books about preschool.
Check out the library for books about preschool. Read and talk about what is going to happen at school.
Try to address some of the feelings in the book and from your child. Ensure them that you’ll be back to pick them up. There’s also a good Daniel Tiger episode about “grown-ups come back” if your child is a Daniel fan. 🙂
Work on skills over the summer.
One way to make your child feel more comfortable in a new environment is to prepare them with the skills they will need at preschool.
Skills that preschoolers learn are:
- Putting on shoes and coats
- Helping clean up toys
- Zipping up their jacket or backpack
- Following simple directions
Give your child an opportunity to practice some of these skills throughout the summer, and they’ll be familiar with them when September rolls around.
When fall arrives…
Once it’s September and the first day of school arrives, your child may have a hard time separating from you or their caregiver. This can be difficult for both you and your child.
However, it’s important to resist the urge to hang around when your child is sad or crying. Typically a teacher will distract your child and encourage them to play or read a book while you leave. Lingering or staying in the classroom will only make it worse.
Be assured that if your child doesn’t calm down quickly after you leave that the teacher will call you. Most often, though, children stop crying within a few minutes and go on to enjoy the rest of their day.
Keep in mind that the crying at drop off may occur for the first week or even two. This is normal. Of course, if you feel something is really wrong at the school be sure to address it. Often though this is just a typical sign of transition and will pass quickly.
When you pick up your child, read their emotions and excitement about preschool. Encourage them with questions and interest in their day.
Easing the transition to preschool
Preschool is a time of growth and many changes for children. Helping them transition to preschool is essential as it will encourage their independence and increase their confidence.
Wishing you and your child a happy and healthy transition to preschool this fall (or in the future!).