Kids who go to preschool have an opportunity to learn important life skills, such as effectively managing stress and getting along with multiple personality types, that they can use to excel in elementary school and beyond. Children attending preschool are also more likely to gain access to lucrative career options. But if your little one is like most toddlers, they are likely to feel a little scared and intimidated upon heading to preschool for the first few days. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your child is enthusiastic about their first day of school rather than worried:
Make a Few Pre-Visits
One of the best ways to prepare your little one for a positive experience at preschool is to make a few visits to the facility before their first official scheduled day. Take the opportunity to visit during different times of the day so your child can experience nap hour, lunch time, and play time with the other kids and gain some insight into how their days will be structured while at preschool.
This will also give your toddler a chance to meet new friends and become familiar with their surroundings so they feel secure when you leave them alone at preschool for the first time. Make sure that you meet with the caretakers and teachers while you're there so there are no "strangers" for your child to worry about on their first day and beyond.
Take Time to Practice at Home
Another way to prep your toddler for preschool life is to take some time and practice at home by structuring your days to mimic the preschool where possible. Obtain a copy of your preschool's daily schedule so you can incorporate things such as snack and lunch sessions, nap times, and lesson plan outlines in your own home for a week or two before sending your little one off to their first day at school. There is no need to treat your home like a school in order for this technique to effectively acclimate your little one – simply schedule your meals and naps around the preschool's schedule as you can, and take a little time to practice ABC and math concepts for 20 minutes a day if possible.
Get Involved with a Play Group
To make sure that your little one adjusts well during their first few days at preschool, it's important to get them used to spending time with children in groups beforehand if possible. Find a play group in your community to get involved with and attend with your child at least once a week during the month leading up to the first day of preschool.
Joining a play group will give your little one an opportunity to practice sharing toys, communicating effectively, and problem solving with others when situations get a little tense. If you can't find any active play groups in your area, check out the local boys' and girls' club, the library, and the parks and recreation department to learn about group programs that they offer.
Make Preparation a Fun Experience
Another great way to make your child feel good about heading to preschool on their own is to get them involved in the preparation process by taking them out to choose a new outfit and a backpack to wear on their first day. Allow them to choose what to pack for the first day's lunch and ask for some help packing it. Invest in a fun, colorful alarm clock and set it up in your toddler's room so they feel like they have some control over their morning readiness routine.
With the help of these tips and tricks, your toddler is sure to feel comfortable and safe when you drop them off for their first day of preschool alone. For more tips, contact a school like Sammamish Montessori School.