Transitioning into preschool can be scary for the parent, but it can be especially cumbersome for young children. They haven’t been exposed to many new things before, and you, as their parent, have been such a consistent presence in their life that it may be difficult to adjust to not having you there. In the face of this new challenge, use these tips to help set you and your family up for success when transitioning your child into preschool.
There are a lot of ways to prepare kids to start a new routine, and just talking about it is a good way to start. Tell them that some small things in your normal routine will change, but you’ll be doing it together. Making sure to also talk about how exciting it will be to be starting school is also a good way to excite them about this new adventure.
Expose them to the idea of school ASAP
There are a lot of resources for introducing them to preschool. For instance, Daniel Tiger has a great TV episode (also available as a book) about starting school, which reiterates an important concept: “grown-ups come back.” Your child may need to be reminded that, while you won’t be here NOW, they can trust that you’ll be back later.
Kids sometimes have a hard time with this because they have a really limited temporal awareness. They understand “before,” “after,” and “later,” but anything more complex has to wait until later development. Having a simple, catchy reminder that you’ll always be there, if not now, then later will help soothe them throughout the day.
Have a Morning Routine
Establish a solid morning routine before the school year starts. Wake up at the same time every day and sit down together for a healthy breakfast. Bonus: this is a chance for one-on-one time that will help them feel attended to and heard before you drop them off. You can add some more fun here by picking a morning wake-up song.
Open the day with a strong dose of positivity. Give yourselves a dedicated 5-minute snuggle time. On the way to school, speak optimistically about the day: “I am kind,” “I am going to be happy today,” “I am me, and there’s no one else I’d rather be.” This not only sets up their day the right way, but it will create a positive association with the new morning routine. Also getting them excited about learning new things and meeting new people is fun!
By setting up playdates with your child’s classmates, you add something familiar to their school day. When they’re constantly exposed to something new, it’s no longer novel and inevitably becomes familiar. Children need consistency, so give them as many opportunities as possible to find things they know and trust. This also helps create strong social skills for them and creates special bonds between friends, making going to school a lot easier.
If this is your first time, you’re going to have some trouble adjusting, too. Make sure you have solid footing when you go in to drop your child off for their first day of school. Your confidence will make the transition easier for them. It’s going to be hard, but if you don’t set up expectations for yourself too, you’ll make it that much harder for them.
The first time is going to be the most difficult, your baby is growing up. You won’t get it right all the time, some mornings will be rushed, and you won’t be able to fit in your normal routine. Other times, you might be unable to put your little one down since their tears leave you wanting to run right back outside with them. Just remind yourself that you’re doing what’s best for your child: setting them up for success by helping them learn and develop integral social skills for the future. That’s stuff that you can’t teach at home.
Begin the registration process as soon as possible to ensure a place for your little scholar. Kid’s Village accepts new registrations year-round and follows a traditional August – May school calendar.