Finding a good preschool for your kids is a great way to get their education started on the right foot. There are innumerable studies that show the benefits of preschool helps kids throughout their educational careers and even give them higher success rates in college. Attending preschool also helps 3 and 4-year-olds develop social skills, and gives them a sense of independence.
However, after the months of research that you put into touring every private preschool in town, conducting preschool interviews, and finding a good preschool for your family, your baby’s first day of school might feel a lot less exciting than you anticipated. If this is your child’s first time being away from you, the initial separation can be traumatic for both of you.
The more prepared both you and your child are for the first day of school, the smoother the drop off will be and the quicker your child will adjust to this big milestone. Here are a few tips for preparing your child for their first day of preschool:
- Familiarize your child with their school environment. If possible, take your child to visit their school a couple times before they start classes. Have them meet their teacher and help them get comfortable with their new surrounding.
- Help your child make friends. It would be ideal for your child to know at least one other child in their class. If you are not able to enroll them in in a class where they already know someone, you might be able to connect with another parent in the class so your children can get acquainted before class starts. Many times, the school administrator can help you connect with another parent who is interested in helping their child prepare for school.
- Practice separation. If your child isn’t used to being away from you, it might be particularly difficult for their first time apart to be in a new environment, surrounded by strangers. Throughout the summer before school starts, it’s helpful if you make it a habit of leaving them for short periods of time with a family member, or in your church nursery, or gym childcare, anywhere they are comfortable with their surrounding. Make sure to reassure them ahead of time that you’re going to come back, it will build their confidence that they can be apart from you, and you will always return for them.
- Talk about it. Make communication a key part of finding a good preschool for your child. Involve them in the school search. Talk about what they’ll do at school. Get them excited for the fun, new things they’ll be doing and the friends they’ll make. Also, talk about being away from them. Package the separation with all the exciting aspects of school, so their prepared and see the positive side of it.
- Hype it up. Get your child excited about picking out their lunch bag and back pack. Make the whole experience of starting school like a Christmas morning.
Do you have any tips for helping a child get adjusted to preschool that we didn’t mention? Leave us a comment below.