Preschool is an important step in your child’s life. It is your child’s first foray into the world alone. And this nonetheless shapes his/her view of the external environment for life. Preparing for this transition is critical in creating the proper mindset in your child. With a little preparation, you can make his/her start into the exciting world knowledge and learning smooth and drama-free.
Most kids begin preschool at around 2.5-3 years, so you could start the concept of school at around 2 years. They need to understand that school is a fun, exciting place where one meets friends and learns so many new and interesting things.
For your toddler, the transition from home to preschool means stepping into a totally alien universe – one completely different from what he/she is used to.
Preschool is the place where they will master the skills needed for later more hardcore learning. They will learn to strengthen their fine motor skills, become fluent in spoken language and communication and most importantly become adept at socializing – their first steps into the world begin with preschool.
For both parent and child, this can be a challenging time. As a parent, you are worried about how your little one will manage without you. While on the other hand, your child may be apprehensive about being away from home and mama.
With a little planning, you can make your child’s first foray into the world exciting and stress-free. This will go a long way in making preschool the time for laying the groundwork for real learning.
Only if your child is free of fear and doubt will he/she be open to taking in information and instruction. Learning happens only when a child feels secure and comfortable.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can help your child transition smoothly to preschool school.
1) Short Periods Away From Mom or Primary Caregiver
If your child is not used to being away from you he/she is bound to feel anxious about going to preschool. Slowly build your child’s tolerance level away from mom. Leave him/her with a babysitter or maybe drop your little one at a friend’s or relative’s home while you go shopping. Your child has to get used to the idea that he is not being abandoned and mom will return
2) Talk to your Child
Your child needs to know what school is and what to expect. Talk to your little one and allay any fears. Paint a colorful picture of the classroom, the friends, the teacher and all the exciting things he/she would be doing – fun activities like coloring, cutting out shapes or forming letters and numbers.
3) Build A Daily Routine
At least a week prior to your child’s first school day, start following a morning routine. Wake up for school, which means waking up an hour before school time. If school begins at 8 am, then waking up at 7 am is a must. It also means going to bed early. There is no point waking up on the first day of preschool and rushing chaotically trying to get your child ready. Your kid will be totally confused and disoriented.
4) Learn About The Preschool’s Rules and Regulations
Have a general understanding of how they do things at school and learn about the school’s rules and regulations, Like what are the daily class routines, drop-off, and pick-up schedules, meals, safety, toilets, hygiene, etc. Maybe a visit with your child a week before and meeting the teacher will help put your child at ease. Also, do leave contact details with the school/teacher in case they need to contact you during emergencies.
5) Connect With Other Parents and Kids
You could ask the school if there are any other kids close to your place who also goes to the same school. Connect with them. You can meet up for play dates and other fun activities. Familiarity means safety for all of us – whether child or adult, so make the effort to meet other students prior to the start of preschool. Having a friend on your first day at school makes a big difference to a child’s mental state.
6) Building Confidence
Make going to preschool something your child will remember forever. Go shopping, let your child pick the items required for school, new clothing or school bag or crayons. Give him/her the chance to make their own choices. This is their first step to becoming independent of you. You will not be always around when they need to make decisions. Confidence comes from self-mastery. Allow them the make their own choices while you are still around
7) Discuss the Schedule
Be clear what the school schedule will be, what time it begins and ends. Talk about how your child will get to school, who will drop-off and fetch them, and the time they will be picked up. Make sure that you arrive on the agreed-upon time to reinforce routine and avoid a panic. The first few days are important, your child’s brain has to adjust to a new situation, so seeing you immediately after school ends will reassure him/her that he is safe.
8) Calm Down – Keep Your Fears To Yourself
Separation is painful for both parent and child. In the beginning your child may suffer from separation anxiety, however, don’t add to the problem by making your apprehensions apparent. Be calm and resolute when dropping your child off at school. Don’t linger for that last hug and kiss. Overcoming separation anxiety and adjusting to school will happen over a short period.
Preschool – Make It Memorable
Your child may or may not remember his/her days in preschool but do try to make this time fun. You never know what memory remains vivid in your child’s mind, it could be something insignificant but could be life-defining.
Don’t forget to give your child additional support and care once school begins. Pay attention to any signs of distress, talk and allow your child to rest. The first few days will be challenging for him/her and will need extra tender loving care.
Helping your child smoothly transition to school life will forever shape their learning outcomes. Make the effort to make it memorable.
Image Source: Pixabay
Author bio> Ayesha Hoda is a marketing and communications specialist working at Step By Step Nursery Group in the UAE. She holds an MBA degree and has more than 13 years of experience in corporate communications and journalism. She has worked in both agency and client-side roles, designing communication strategies for multinational clients, nonprofits and small businesses in various industries, such as education and healthcare.
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