Attending preschool is a huge milestone for both you and your little tot alike. Your child will be taking tiny steps towards a huge and unfamiliar territory, making new friends and having fun learning! The transition to preschool brings on a wave of various emotions – excitement, trepidation, loneliness for both parent and child. While children have different responses towards transitioning to school, there are some tangible preparations that can be made to ease your child’s transition into preschool. Here are our top 5 tips to prepare your child for preschool and thereby ensuring an optimistic transition to the new surroundings.
Reading not only enhances your child’s language and literacy ability, it is also an effective method to introduce the concept of school. Reading books on preschool such as “Maisy goes to preschool” by Lucy Cousins gives you the opportunity to talk to your child on the characters’ feelings and your child’s feelings on going to school. Books with familiar characters may also allow them to relate to the characters as they further help prepare your child for preschool. Books with familiar characters may also allow them to relate to the characters as they further help prepare your child for preschool.
By setting 10-15 minutes of reading time a day, you will also be practising routines which will occur inevitably when school starts.
2. Practise routines:
In school, your child will be following a set of routines – play time, nap time, snack time and so forth. If possible, attain a copy of the class schedule and engage your child in a similar set of activities as per the timetable. This can be simply getting used to the school’s nap time or lunchtime to fix a clock on your child’s appetite.
You may also start talking to your child on the routine they will be going through in school to set expectations for the day (eg.” You will get to play at the playground after story time and I will pick you up from school after naptime!”)
It is encouraged to give your child space to express their feelings and more importantly to acknowledge them. Voicing “There is nothing to be scared of” or similar thoughts disregards your child’s fears. You may let your child know that there are many other children who feel the same way as them or even share your own recount of your nostalgic school days. (“Daddy and Mommy were once afraid just like you!”)
If your child is unable to vocally express their worries yet, you may still be able to pick up tell-tale signs of anxiety. One notable sign is when your child shows regression in certain areas of development such as refusing to eat by themselves despite being able to do so or requesting to be carried more often than usual. These are normal reactions; your child is undergoing a major transition and need more love and support.
4. Promote a sense of belonging and responsibility:
Allow your child to choose the backpack they want to bring to school and pack the bag together. You may also create sticker labels for your child to stick on his/her belongings.
5. Plan a trip to the preschool:
Bring your child along with you to tour around the preschool. Your child will be able to have a glimpse of the new environment and get a chance to be introduced to his/her future teacher and friends.
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