The first day of preschool is an amazing event for children and their families, but without adequate preparations, you could be in for a very bumpy initiation. Here are 10 important ways to get ready and make the process a huge success for everyone:
1. Make A List Of Everything You Need To Do And Buy
The first day of preschool isn't just a big deal for kids, it can also be pretty chaotic for parents. To make it easier on yourself, create a to-do list, including things like health check-ups and vaccinations, paperwork and registrations, plus, a list of all the items your child will need, from a backpack full of school supplies, to the clothing and footwear you might plan to buy.
2. Engage In Make Believe Preschool With Your Child
Because the word "preschool" may not conjure up any realistic images in your child's mind, it's a good idea to introduce them to the concept, along with the expected activity involved, in a make believe setting. You could use your living room, greeting your child as they enter, much the same way the preschool teachers will. Ask your child questions about colors and numbers, giving them a good idea of how preschool will be.
3. Quiz Your Child On Their Independence Skills
Going to preschool likely means your child will have new expectations placed on them when it comes to independence, such as potty skills, mealtime manners and solving a variety of problems, including those presented to kids in groups. See where your little one stands and consider the ways in which you can gently push the goal of independence along.
4. Ask For More Independence From Now On
In the comfortable and familiar environment of your home, your child may feel much more at ease in doing new things on their own. This setting is the ideal place to raise the level of expectations for independence, where you're right there to offer a big "Way to go!" or to catch them if they don't quite hit the mark. You could ask your child to do more things on their own, such as setting and clearing their own plates and silverware, tying, zipping and buttoning, along with putting their own toys away. Also, make sure your child has an effective way of communicating their needs that other people - not just family members, will be capable of understanding. For example, you may immediately know what a certain pout on your child's face indicates, but the new people at preschool won't. Practice speaking clearly and concisely, as much as your little one is able to at their current age and skill level.
5. Open A Dialogue About The Major Changes Going On In Your Child's Life
Asking your child how they feel about the upcoming transition to preschool is healthy and may help you work out any issues, hopefully before they evolve into potential problems. Talk about fears, hopes and how overwhelming the unknown can be, reassuring your child that teachers are there to help and that you'll never be out of reach, even if you're out of sight.
6. Pay A Visit To The New School
Drive by the new preschool with your child whenever you have the chance and be sure and catch any orientation day that's held.
7. Remember To Alter Bedtime If Needed
If your child is accustomed to staying up a little late, they may need a week or two of going to bed earlier before they fully adjust. Keep this in mind as the start of preschool approaches.
8. Run A Preschool Morning Drill A Few Days Before It Starts
In the week or so before school actually begins, run a drill where everyone gets up and ready at the needed times, including brushing hair and teeth and gathering the day's necessary items. Make it fun by using a stopwatch for certain things, such as getting dressed, and make the drill an exciting dress-rehearsal that generates excitement for the real thing.
9. Plan On Staying With Your Child At The School If Needed
As much as the school, your work or schedule and circumstances permit, plan on walking your child into the new classroom and helping them meet and greet the new teachers and students. Who knows, your little one may dart ahead of you, right into the school without a care in the world, or they may cling to you with no intention of letting go. Be prepared for anything, including your own heart having to accept how fast your baby is growing and becoming more independent.
10. Plan For A Celebration At Home
To mark the occasion of your child's first successful day at preschool, why not throw a fabulous party at your dinner table? Inflate a few balloons, prepare everyone's favorite entree and wrap a gift or two for the star pupil. This will demonstrate the importance of school to your little one and be a great way for your whole family to say "Congratulations!" as well.
Set the example of preparedness for your child and set them up for success with preschool, by helping them overcome any apprehensions and by bringing them up to speed on all the new challenges they face. Don't forget to have a camera ready, too, for capturing this amazing milestone on permanent record. For more information, contact companies like Sammamish Montessori School.