Starting preschool can be a huge transition, especially if your little one is used to being home. Luckily there are a few simple things you can do to help them get ready. Don’t stress over their mastery of shapes and colors. The focus here is helping them develop a few life skills … life skills for the very young. Have a peek at this checklist and see if there are one or two areas you can work on together before the big day.
Provide moments of gentle anticipation: It may be hard for your child to picture what this next chapter of their life is all about. It’s a good idea to start planting seeds, but don’t harp on the subject or your child will get stressed! Ask the teacher for a copy of the daily schedule and use some of the activities as talking points. For example, when you’re sitting down for a snack, casually mention, “Guess what? You’ll eat yummy snacks at preschool, too, but you’ll get to enjoy them with your new friends!”
Read stories: Reading is always great practice, because it helps build vocabulary skills, setting your child up for academic success down the road. For good measure, get a couple first-day-of-school books into your storytime rotation. If your child gets familiar with the happenings in the book, it may help her get her bearings on the first day!
Examine your routines: Routines at home give children a sense of security, and help them transition to the next thing (with fewer tantrums and power struggles). Routine can also get them ready for the structure of school. Try to do things at the same time every day, with a focus on building a comforting routine at bedtime.
Introduce small chores: In a preschool setting, children don’t play the day away while teachers wait on them hand and foot. Everyone has a role to play, and everyone does his or her share! Bring this mindset into the home and assign a few age-appropriate chores. Not sure where to start? If you’re already having her set her shoes on the mat and put away her mittens when she comes in, you’re off to a great start! From there, step up to having her put things away when she’s done using them, especially books and toys. Then, branch out to other easy things, like feeding pets, picking up sticks in the yard, setting the table and washing a low window.
Have test runs: Signing up your child for special activities is another great way to ease into preschool and help them acclimate to structure and routine. Check your library, school district and community education to discover what’s out there. Be on the lookout for a Bricks 4 Kidz preschool class, where kids ages can build colorful structures with DUPLO Bricks. Our unique models make it fun, plus they’ll get some hands-on experience with foundational STEM skills. Sign up today!