Starting preschool is a significant and memorable milestone for children. While this transition can be difficult for some kids, it doesn’t have to be. Preparing your child ahead of time can make the experience much easier and help your little one feel more comfortable about starting school. Most early child care learning centers provide a combination of activities designed to help children develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills at an early age. The preschool environment will be very different from your child’s home life, and it takes time to adjust to the new setting and people. Here are ten tips that will help you prepare your child for the transition to preschool:
- Help children get used to a quiet environment at home. Kids at this age begin to develop their social skills and self-confidence as they interact with other children on a regular basis. By creating a calm and peaceful atmosphere at home, your preschooler will be better prepared for the times when the teacher is speaking softly, or there are other kids around.
- Read lots of books. During a typical day at a child care learning center, your child will engage teachers and classmates. When adults read to children, it gives them opportunities to practice their own reading skills in a fun and pressure-free environment. By reading with young children at home consistently, you’ll help to boost their vocabulary and improve their communication skills.
- Encourage your preschooler to help out at home. Developing increased independence is an important part of early childhood development. So, encourage your child to assist you with daily tasks regularly. For example, you can have your child set the table for dinner or help feed your dog. Completing various tasks on their own helps preschoolers develop a sense of autonomy and responsibility, which is vital for future success at school and beyond.
- Play games together. There are plenty of educational board games that you can play with your preschooler to enrich social skills and academic performance. In addition, playing games with your child is an excellent way to bond and spend time together. If you’re not sure where to start, consider searching online or asking other parents at your preschool which types of games they like to play with their children.
- Limit TV time. Preschoolers need to get adequate sleep, which means their schedule should include daily naps. In the hours leading up to this quiet time, if your little one likes watching TV, try to find age-appropriate TV shows. While there are many educational programs on TV that can help young children as they prepare to start school, be sure to limit their daily screen time, or they will become too dependent on the television.
- Allow children to explore their new environment. While providing adequate supervision, try not to limit children’s opportunities to discover and explore their new surroundings too much. By giving kids some freedom to check out their new classroom and play with other children, it will help them feel more relaxed and comfortable as they adjust to the new daily routine.
- Introduce your child to new experiences. Kids at this age are eager to learn, so introduce them to a variety of new activities as you prepare them for the transition to preschool. For example, you might enroll children in a swim program or art class during the summer months in order to help them develop their physical, social, or other skills.
- Provide healthy snacks. It’s important for preschoolers to eat three healthy meals a day, plus a snack or two, to keep their bodies running properly. In addition to helping your child maintain a healthy weight, appropriate nutrition will support physical growth and brain development for years to come.
- Take your preschooler on plenty of fun outings. If possible, try to plan monthly trips or adventures for your family that will help your preschooler become more comfortable with new settings outside of your home. You might enroll children in an activity at the local library. By venturing out and meeting new people early on, it will help your little one become more well-adjusted when it’s time to attend school.
- Get involved at your preschool learning center. If you have children attending a traditional preschool or elementary learning center, one of the best ways to prepare them for success is by becoming involved yourself. If possible, participate in fundraisers, or spend some time connecting with other parents. This will help to ensure that everyone feels comfortable speaking up if there’s ever a concern regarding your child’s development or academic performance.
By following these easy steps, you can help your preschooler be prepared to enter this exciting new learning environment. Remember not to push young children too hard, as this will only cause them anxiety about the transition. Preschool learning centers are structured environments designed to help young children become more independent and self-sufficient, so it’s important to gradually ease them into this new experience.