Starting pre-school for the first time is an exciting and momentous occasion in a child’s life. You can help prepare for this milestone and make this transition easier for both you and your child by following these simple strategies.
Establish routines. Over the summer it’s normal for kids to go to bed later than usual. In the weeks before school starts, help your child get into a routine that will ensure they are getting enough sleep and waking up on time to get ready for school without rushing.
Encourage independence. Although teachers and EA’s would be more than happy to help your son tie his shoes for the umpteenth time, keep in mind there are many other children waiting for the same assistance. Make sure your child knows how to put on their own shoes by encouraging them to practice before school starts. During meal time trust your child to feed themselves, and make life easier by giving them food that can be easily eaten with little fingers. Also, make sure you show them how to go to the toilet and wash their hands on their own.
Practice building trust with other adults . While your child may be looking forward to starting pre-school, they may not fully understand that mommy or daddy will be away all day. If you are able, leave your child at grandmas or a close friend or relative’s house for a couple hours to get them used to you being away. While this won’t guarantee your child won’t feel separation anxiety and shed a few tears in the first few weeks of school, they will at least have some experience going a few hours without mom and dad.
Encourage responsibility. Have you ever asked a three year old to help set the dining table? You would be surprised at their level of enthusiasm to bring their own plates and cups to the table. Pre-schoolers relish the opportunity to show their helpfulness. Equipped with that knowledge, don’t hesitate to give them small chores on a daily basis like clearing plates from the table, picking up toys, feeding a pet, or other small household contributions, while giving plenty of praise and encouragement.
Check your own anxiety. Last but not least, check your anxiety. Although you might be feeling anxious about sending your little one off to preschool, know that your child will be able to pick up on your anxiety. Let your little one see your excitement, and they will (hopefully) get excited too.
Overall, try to enjoy the first day of school and allow both you and your child to feel however you want to feel. If you would like to learn more about our Early Years program, please visit our Early Years page.