Heading to preschool can be hard for any child, even one that has been at daycare before. With a new school year around the corner, I am sharing seven ways to prepare your child for preschool to help ease the transition.
I've partnered with Brother to share 7 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Child For Preschool.
The first day of preschool. Cue the tears, nerves, and butterflies…….all those feelings wrapped into one. Am I right? Whether it's your first time to prepare your child for preschool or it's your last baby bird to leave the nest……it's a HUGE step. Lydia's first day of preschool gave me so much anxiety, I spent MONTHS preparing! I was so nervous that she would be scared, upset, or feel abandoned.
This slow but steady preparation process really eased the transition (for me as well as her)……and I'm happy to say that almost three school years later, she LOVES school and it was a great move for our family!
7 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Preschool
Visit the School: We really wanted Lydia to be familiar with the campus. We visited regularly (once or twice a week) for two months before she started. Luckily, as a teacher I had the summer off to do this but you could easily drive by on the weekends or in the evenings for five or ten minutes. Attend school events and carnivals, the more familiar the campus the less overwhelming it will be on that first day.
Play School at Home: Set up a little school area in your house, and play school. Practice circle time, centers, let your child pretend to be the teacher. Dramatic play is a great way to discuss big transitions in a low stress manner and to address any potential fears or road blocks.
Drop Off Drills: Let's be honest, drop off is the hardest part. I was picturing a crying child as I tearfully ran away to my car. We did drop off drills and they helped a LOT. We practiced at home. Pretending Lydia was walking into school, we said bye, hugged, and I always told her that I would be back at the end of the day. I think having that routine really helped when the real day came. Trust me, this one will prepare your child for preschool drop off and will ease the stress for YOU.
Do Daily Feelings Check Ins: Once school starts (and in the weeks leading up to that first day), set aside a little time each day to discuss feelings about school. Prompt your kiddo by asking: “What are you excited about?” “What are you nervous about?” Their answers will guide you to know which aspects of trying to prepare your child for preschool to focus on.
Start a School Countdown: The first day of school shouldn't be a surprise. Start a school countdown calendar (think of it as being like an advent calendar) about 30 days before the start of school. Each morning take a moment to update the countdown and to talk about how excited you are for your child to start preschool!
Make It a Celebration and a Rite of Passage: This transition should be a positive rite of passage, not something you express fear or anxiety about. Your child is growing up, and they are READY for this. The more you say it, you more you'll both believe it!
Prepare Materials for Success: Lydia's FAVORITE part of starting each new school year is preparing her materials. From lunch boxes to backpacks, to a new jacket and water bottle, we set her up each year with new items. Not gonna lie, we were a little late this year and FINALLY got this done.
When preparing for school, don't forget to label EVERYTHING. You know that cute backpack your kiddo picked out? Guarantee someone else will have the same one. Enter personalized labels. LABEL EVERYTHING. From the inside of clothes to that new backpack. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later. We just started using the P-touch Cube, and I'm not going to lie…..I'm becoming a label addict. This wireless label maker is Bluetooth enabled, and uses the super simple Brother P-touch Design&Print app to create labels from your phone. Lydia and I used it to personalize labels for all of her school materials (and to finally get a few parts of our house in order like her playroom and home library). She loved picking the label color herself, and we even added cute borders for her school labels!
Are you as in love with the P-touch Cube as I am? Watch out…..you’ll want to label EVERYTHING! I’m teaming up with Brother (the makers of the P-touch Cube) to give one of YOU your very own wireless label maker.
Are you preparing your child for preschool? What tips do YOU have?