Summer is approaching, which means fall – and the start of a new school year – is just around the corner. Most preschoolers are working on readiness skills when school starts, so the thought of starting preschool may be stressful for your little one. Not to worry! Below are my Top 10 tips for facilitating a positive preschool experience for your child.
- Shorten the on-ramp: Try not to mention preschool until a couple of weeks before the start of school. Over-emphasizing the start of school too soon can create pressure and anxiety for your little one.
- Proactive potty prep: Address toilet needs and potty-training by dressing your child in clothes that are easy to take off and put on.
- Reinforce good hygiene: Practice hand-washing, especially before eating and after bathroom use.
- Make patience fun: Play games that encourage taking turns, exercising patience and learning to not interrupt when others are speaking. And don’t let your child always win! Learning acceptance of losing is an important life-long skill.
- Read together, often: In addition to being time well spent, asking your child simple questions while you read can help them build concentration skills.
- Run like the wind: Preschool involves loads of physical energy and mental stamina, so give your child lots of opportunities to play and run outside.
- Do a drive-by: A couple weeks before school starts, drive by the school and talk about what a fun time they will have at preschool. Arrange a time to meet their new teacher or play with another child in their class.
- Establish a routine: Start building consistent morning and bedtime routines (and times) in the weeks leading up to school to help ease the transition.
- Practice following directions: Find opportunities to give your child multi-step directions around the home, such as: pick up 3 toys in the family room, bring them to your room, and put them on the shelf. Alternatively, invite them to help you with household tasks like setting the table or emptying the trash.
- Help them be understood: Communication skills are so important. Help your child learn to express himself so that an unfamiliar adult can understand his needs. Words, gestures and sign language all work.
BONUS TIP: Enjoy this special chapter in your child’s life. You will be so surprised at the growth and development your child will exhibit during the preschool years.
Darlene is an Early Education Advisor with more than 25 years of experience in early child development. She consults with young families regarding preschool decisions, questions to ask on tours, curriculum philosophies, developmental questions, and school readiness including preschool and elementary school decisions. She can be reached at 626.688.3256 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.