Preschool provides a variety of benefits for your toddler to take advantage of, such as the opportunity to learn important social skills and the ability to more easily transition into kindergarten life. But if your toddler is like most, they likely aren't used to spending a lot of time away from home and close family members, which can make the first days of preschool pretty stressful. Luckily, you can help ease the stress and make participation in preschool an exciting experience with the help of these tips and tricks:
Make a Lunchtime Visit
It's important for your toddler to become familiar with their new surroundings at preschool before they're left alone for the day. This will give them a sense of security and provide them with some control over how they navigate through their first full day of preschool. If your child knows where things like the restrooms and water fountains are, they won't have to be so dependent on others to guide them.
An awesome way to familiarize your toddler with their new preschool surroundings is to schedule a previsit to the school before their official first day. Lunch time is a perfect time to visit as the atmosphere should be casual and pressure free. Your child will have an opportunity to get to know the teachers and other children as well as visit each room in the school so they know what to expect once they start attending preschool full-time.
Reach Out to Other Parents
Get your child used to social settings before starting their first day of preschool by reaching out to other parents at the school and scheduling play dates with their children. This gives your toddler an opportunity to learn how to get along with others their own age by sharing toys and using team work before being put into an actual classroom setting.
And the better your child knows their classmates by the time school starts, the more comfortable they'll likely feel when you leave them alone during their first days and weeks in school. An afternoon in the park, a picnic in your backyard, a meeting in the local library, or a gathering at a community event are all effective get-together options to consider.
Create a Daytime Schedule
Another effective way to prep your toddler for preschool and minimize any stress they may feel is to implement a daytime schedule at home that is similar to that which the preschool uses. This will get your child used to the schedule they'll follow at school so the transition is easy on them and they can enjoy their new experiences instead of having to worry about new lunch and nap times throughout the day. Ask the preschool to provide you with a basic daily schedule that outlines programs, activities, naps, snacks, and lunches so you can create your own similar schedule at home.
Go Shopping Together
Taking your toddler shopping for some new preschool gear is a great way to create some excitement around the transition to school. Getting a new lunchbox, backpack, and first-day-of-school outfit along with a few accessories like crayons should go a long way in making your little one feel independent and interested in branching out to make new friends and learn new things. Sit down and make a list together so you can build up some excitement for each item before you start shopping. Keep everything packed away so it's all brand new and still exciting on the first official day of preschool.
These techniques should be easy to implement, and your toddler is sure to appreciate the effort you put into making their preschool experience a safe and exciting one. Find a preschool that will suit your child through websites like http://www.kidscountry.net.