When you’ve done the research, found the ideal preschool for your little one, and signed them up, the next step turns to actually preparing your child for their first day. Besides a new backpack and a pair of school shoes, tots need to be mentally ready for preschool, so we turned to the expert educators at Learning Vision for their best advice on how to help your little ones settle in and love preschool!
How is my child likely to be feeling on their first day of preschool?
Starting preschool is a big step and often children feel excitement, anticipation and anxiety – just like their parents! Try not to let your own anxieties transfer to your child but instead recognise that everything you and your child are feeling is completely normal. Talk to your child about what’s going to happen on their first day and also give yourself time to be emotionally prepared too.
How can I help my child feel positive on their first day?
Allieviate your child’s anxiety by chatting to them about starting school, what to expect and what’s going to happen. Stay calm, stay creative, and stay confident – change requires courage from both you and your child!
Here are some practical steps you take:
- Talk to your child about school and what it’s going to be like. You can use stories, puppets, and toys to make the discussion more meaningful.
- Get your child to help with the preparation for their first day – they can help you pick a new school bag or even draw a picture for their new teacher.
- Some kids like to take a “safety blanket” with them – get your child to choose an item they can take to preschool that will provide some comfort to them.
- Share with your child what will happen on the first day – from waking up, to putting on their school uniform and arriving at school, make sure they know what will happen.
- Count down to their first day and make it something to look forward to.
- Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep before their first day – being well rested definitely helps!
- Be on time at when picking your child up from school – praise your child for doing well.
- Talk to your child’s teachers. It’s always good to find out what’s happening at school the next day – it encourages excitement for your child.
So tell me, should I stay or should I leave quickly on their first day?
It’s best to keep the goodbyes short and sweet – you don’t want to linger and make it more difficult for your child. Kids thrive on routines and rituals, so if possible, establish a goodbye ritual before their first day at school – and stick to it! Little ones tend to feel more secure when they know what’s going to happen next, so when you get to the school it’s best to stick to your goodbye routine… and then leave. It’s also important to recognise that leaving your little one won’t be easy on you either. Be kind to yourself and give it time. Don’t feel bad either if your child cries when you leave, it’s often more difficult for them if you stay but can’t be near them. Be brave!
How long does it typically take for toddlers to settle in?
It differs between children, but expect that it will take a few weeks for your child to adjust to their new preschool. Remain positive during the transition and be as patient and encouraging as you can.
What do kiddos normally love most about preschool?
Most kids love making new friends, developing strong relationships with their teachers, and doing fun and engaging activities. Some children have even shared that they love the food served at school!
Which part of the day is often the most difficult for preschoolers?
Saying goodbye can be difficult for some children, especially if they have separation anxiety, but can be managed well with the support of your child’s teachers. Naptimes can also be a tricky time for some, as there’s often less going on (most children will be sleeping) and homesickness can pop up. Most preschools however are usually accommodating to littlies during this time.
What can I do to ensure my child loves preschool?
Be the face of positivity! Embrace the joy of your child being in preschool and be engaged and interested in what your child does at school. It also helps if you can maintain a good relationship with your child’s teachers – your kids will notice.
If you have enjoyed reading these tips, you can get a first-person take on the school by visiting the Learning Vision booth at the Rise & Shine Expo at Suntec Convention Hall Level 4, Hall 401-404, from 22 to 24 August 2014, 11am-9pm daily. Their friendly teachers and staff will be on hand to assist and answer your queries, including registrations for 2015.