A wonderful milestone in any child’s life, starting pre-school can be both an exciting and anxious time for both toddlers and parents alike. In order to avoid the stress of your precious little one starting a new phase in his or her life, a little bit of pre-planning and preparing is key to making this entire experience a smooth transition from home to school. Read on for how to help reduce the ‘first day of school’ jitters for both baby and parent!
Talk it out!
To lessen the worries and doubts of exploring a new place with new faces, sit with your child and have a casual chat about pre-school. Speak to them about where they are going and what they will be doing there. Ask your toddler about what he/she is looking forward to and try to get them excited for the first day of school. Keeping your toddler informed and answering any questions they may have is a great way to calm their nerves before embarking on this new journey.
Make it fun!
Encourage your child to practice everyday skills by making a fun game out of it! Simple activities such as tying their shoe laces, putting on their backpack, opening their lunch box etc. can be made into fun games. I.e.: Have a competition with your child to see who can tie their shoelace faster.
Practice makes perfect!
Before starting pre-school, allocate sometime with your toddler to practice basic visual motor skills. This could be in the form of coloring, drawing, connecting dots, tracing or even practicing writing their name. Using picture books & interactive workbooks can make learning time more fun and engaging so do try to invest in a few educational material.
Get your child to fall in love with books and reading by making reading time a regular routine in your day to day activities. This will help teach your toddler to be more patient and pay attention during school time. Always have a book available whenever you can, in their bedroom, in the car or even in the kitchen. You could even take your toddler to a bookstore or library and have them pick out their own books!
Independence is important!
In most cases, pre-school will be the first time your toddler will be away from you. Therefore it is important to build up their confidence and encourage him/her to be independent. Before starting school, practice simple activities such as washing hands, going to the bathroom, using cutlery etc. If they do ask for assistance, instead of doing it for them, provide your toddler with simple directions or steps on how to complete the task at hand.
Overpreparing is overrated
Children can get overwhelmed easily, therefore it’s best to avoid preparing your child for preschool months in advance. Instead of reminding them of this big milestone in their life way early on, get them excited a month or so close to the start date by engaging in fun activities such as shopping for backpacks, lunch boxes, books etc.
Establish a routine
Sticking to a daily routine will help your child smoothly transition from home to preschool. This will help your child understand the concept of time and how to stick to a schedule. Establish a morning and evening routine. A morning routine could include making the bed, getting dressed, brushing their teeth, having breakfast and then playtime. While an evening routine can include bath time, changing into pajamas, dinnertime and bedtime.
If the preschool you are enrolling your toddler in has an orientation day, make sure to be there. Walking around with your child, getting him/her familiar with their surroundings, teachers and other toddlers might help negate some of the first day jitters.