Lori Lori is a work-at-home mom of three living in Noblesville, Indiana.

Preschool benefits children in a lot of ways. It’s a perfect place to interact with peers and improve social skills. It’s where kids learn life lessons like how to share and follow directions. Of course, it is also one way to help prepare kids for kindergarten and the years that follow. The main way to get to understand the benefits is to adjust to preschool.

However, preschool is also accompanied with some emotions, both for parents and children. A young kid spending hours in a new environment with teachers and other  kids he does not know can cause anxiety. Parents may have a hard time dropping their baby off and have mixed emotions about preschool in general.

However, the time comes when preschool is the next step in many children’s lives. Here are some ways your child can adjust to preschool:

Adjust to Preschool By…

Easing your child’s worries before the school year begins.

Before the first day of class, talk to your child about going to preschool. Introduce him to activities that will take place in the classroom such as coloring with paper and crayons (which he has probably already done several times).

Photo via Flickr/Creative Commons

Read a book about a child’s first day of school. Point out the experiences the character has and explain that your child will probably have similar experiences when he or she goes to school. Make sure to encourage your child to ask you questions.

Visit your child’s classroom prior to the start of school. It will be great for your child to see the building and his classroom, as well as meet the teacher. Make sure your child familiarizes himself with the classroom by exploring. You can also take time to ask the teacher a little more about the schedule so you can implement some activities before sending your child to school. Knowing how the week will be structured may help prepare your child for what is to come.

Always make sure you stay calm and assured so your child will feel confident. Children are smart and they will pick up on nonverbal cues and will notice if you seem worried or guilty. So while it’s essential to prepare for school, don’t place too much emphasis on the change.

Tips to handle the first day of school.

My son in the parking lot
on the first day of preschool.

When you and your child walk into the classroom, calmly reintroduce your child to the teacher. This will help your child feel reassured and confident that he will be safe and happy at school. As difficult as it may be, you need to step back and give the teacher the chance begin to form a relationship with your child.

If your child cries or clings to you as you try to exit the classroom, do not get mad at him. Showing anger may further upset your child. If you have been in this situation before, you know how very difficult it is to leave your child when he is scared or sad. Give your child a loving goodbye and reassure him you will be back soon, and then promptly leave. It is true that most children do well after the parents leave.

Many preschools start with a daily ritual like circle time or coloring time. Preschoolers respond well to familiar activities and succeed with predictability. Remember to try to stay consistent in your morning routine prior to preschool drop off, too. You can also send along something special for your child to help him calm down. A small blanket or  stuffed animal in your child’s backpack is a good idea, or you can put a stamp or a sticker on your child’s arm (where it won’t get washed off) where he or she can easily see it and feel more brave. It is essential to find ways to ease your preschooler’s fears.

While the transition to preschool is tough on children, remember that it’s usually hardest on the parents. Keep in mind ways to help make the transition a smooth one and remember that it is okay if your child has a hard time at first. He will learn to love school and make new friends in no time!

Do you have any tips to prepare your child (or yourself as the parent) to adjust to preschool?

Category: Education

Tags: Back to school