Your child may be very excited to go to preschool, but the new environment and change in routines can also be quite stressful for him. Here are some simple ways to gradually adjust his schedule and introduce him to the activities he will encounter in the classroom. It will make the transition easier, and ensure that his first experience of school will be fun and stress-free.
1. Share a chore.
In preschool your child will have to put away his own toys and books, and learn to follow the instructions of the teacher. At home, you can get him used to sharing a daily chore with you. For example, when you prepare dinner, he can help you wash the vegetables. Or, as you vacuum the living room, put him in charge of wiping the lower bookshelves.
Label his things
Your child may not know how to read well yet, but he should be able to recognize the written form of his name—especially since teachers will be using it to label his cubbyhole or his books. So start labeling his personal belongings and even the paintings he makes that you pin on the refrigerator. You can also get a personalized mug, cap or t-shirt that he can use at home.
Play simple games
Following instructions is a very important skill in school. You can already get your child used to this through fun games, like ‘Simon says’ or ‘Treasure Hunt’ (use picture icons instead of letters). You can also incorporate it into everyday chores. For example, at the supermarket, ‘Get me bananas and oranges from that shelf, and put it in the basket’
Offer simple choices
Your child must get used to communicating what he wants to other people. You can prepare him by offering simple choices: ‘Do you want to wear your red or blue shirt?’ or ‘Do you want cereal or a sandwich for breakfast?’
Give a sense of routine
Children will have an easier time adjusting to school routines if they already follow one at home. Give your child a sense of how certain activities follow a sequence: ‘First we take a bath, then we read a book, and then we take a nap.’
Playdates help your child get used to being with other kids her age. Read our tips on tantrum-free playdates.
Mimic school activities
For example, get your child used to the idea of a lunchbox. Bring one with you to the playground, and show him how to unpack it, use the thermos, and how to deal with leftovers and throw away trash.
Talk about school
Read children’s books on the first day of school. Show him pictures of yourself when you were in preschool and talk about your favorite memories.
Photo from the-parenting-magazine.com
I also bought my child a small blackboard and chalk, and a tiny table and desk, so she could pretend to play “school” with her teddy bears and dolls. She had so much fun!
These are awesome tips