Preschool is a major milestone for your whole family, and while it is an exciting change, this new experience can be stressful for you and your child. Here, the professionals at Celebree provide tips for making the transition to preschool a smooth one.
When heading into preschool, children are often excited to feel like a “big kid.” But, they may also feel scared or stressed at the idea of being separated from their parents for the first time. Likewise, parents may be proud in anticipation of their child’s new independence, but anxious to leave them under another’s supervision. There are many ways to help relieve concerns such as these, and make this milestone an exciting one for the whole family.
Prepare Ahead of Time
It is important to prepare your child for preschool – but not to overwhelm them with the idea. Starting preparation too early can make children feel as if preschool is worthy of fear or concern. Instead, make subtle mention of preschool a part of everyday conversation: discuss the different activities they will get to enjoy, what types of things they can expect to learn and the people they will meet. Begin to play “school” at home, as this can give your child the chance to understand the student-teacher-classmate dynamic and that of the classroom setting.
If your child is nervous about their first day, try to focus on the fun sides of preparation, such as allowing them to pick out a backpack, a stuffed animal and a blanket to bring. You can also relate this new experience to ones that your child is familiar with, as this can help children to feel prepared without being overwhelmed with information.
Create a Routine
Routines create a sense of calm and order in a child’s life, which is especially important as they enter this new phase. Begin to establish wake-up times that coordinate with your preschool schedule a week or more in advance of your child’s first day. Allow your child the opportunity to help you pack up their back pack and choose their clothes before they go to bed– as this will create a more efficient morning routine.
Make time for a sit-down breakfast with your little one to regroup and bond before their day begins. Create a goodbye ritual you can share before they go to preschool for the day, such as a clapping game, special song, or kisses to “save for later.” Once your routine is created, it is important to try to stick to it as best as you can, as it will give your child a sense of what to expect each time they go to school.
Give your little one the opportunity to ask questions, and answer them with patience and empathy. When communicating, pay attention to non-verbal cues, as preschool age children can’t always verbalize their feelings, and may show signs of aggression, frustration or sadness to communicate stress. Be sure to let your child know that preschool is not something to be scared of, but a fun adventure filled with many new friends and exciting activities. Most importantly, let your child know that you are there for them.
Implementing some of the strategies above will help your children feel more confident to start this new chapter of their life. At Celebree, our experienced educators work to make the transition to preschool as easy as possible for our families. We are proud to have created preschool programs that provide a blend of fun and education in a safe and nurturing environment. For more information about our preschool programs, or to schedule a tour of your local Learning Center contact us today!