Preparing Your Toddler for Preschool

Submitted by Nic on June 28, 2012

Preparing your toddler for preschool can be a trying time for all concerned. As a parent, it is but natural to be worried about how he will cope without you and whether he will be happy. As a toddler, the experience can be scary and overwhelming. So, what can you do to ease the transition to preschool with the least possible fuss?


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Before anything, you need to prepare a strategy. One that will prepare your child to get along with the other children he meets in preschool, one that teaches him to listen and follow directions and one that most importantly is fun. Following are some suggestions on how you can accomplish all of this:

Expand his social circle: If your child has not been around too many other children before preschool, the noise and the crowd may intimidate him.

Spending time with other children will also teach him to share, take turns and co-operate: all important qualities in a school going child.

Teach him what to expect: Anxiety is unavoidable when it comes to starting preschool. Don't try and brush off his fears by saying things like, 'This will be the most fun ever!' or 'There is nothing to be scared of.' Even little children have a right to their own fears. What you can do to allay them is talk about them and take them seriously. Discuss what will happen on his first day of school and talk him through the entire process, from getting ready in the morning to being picked up after school-routine is important to all children. There are several children's stories about starting school that are ideal to read to your child before he starts going to school.

Make your goodbye a good one: If preschool is the first time your child will be away from you, he needs to be assured that you are coming back. Starting your own special goodbye ritual that you do every time you drop him off is a great way to let go. You could kiss each hand before you leave or high-five him before saying goodbye. A little ditty such as, 'see you later, alligator… in a while, crocodile' can help ease the tension and calm him down.

Keep it calm: On the first few days of school, make sure that everything is in order before you leave home. Rushing through his breakfast, hurrying him out of the door and making a mad dash for school will only add to the tension of the morning. The calmer things are at home, the easier the separation will be.

Help him help himself: During preschool; your child will take his first tentative steps towards independence. You can help matters along by making games out of self-help skills. Have a race to see who can put on their shoes the fastest. Or let him practice zipping up his coat. Let him help you plan and pack his school lunch box so that he knows what to expect. When it comes to potty training, check with the preschool about toilet facilities and what they expect from the children. If you know that they only take kids who are toilet trained, start potty training a few months before school begins to avoid any accidents. Pack spare pants and a change of clothes nonetheless.

Even before you decide that your toddler is ready for preschool, you need to start looking for one. It is better to start your search early and in the big cities, some good school demand registration as soon as the child is born! Finding a good preschool may take some time and a whole lot of effort but it is not impossible. To find a preschool that is best for your kid, you should:

Identify what is important to you: Is a school close to your home more important than its curriculum? Are you set on a specific approach to learning that may not be offered by all preschool? Make a list of what you want and narrow your search accordingly.

Research. Research. Research: Ask around to find out which schools have the best reputation. Personal references are the best though you can also visit the schools to see for yourself. Turn to the experts and call The Childcare Aware hotline (800-424-2246). They can direct you to the correct resources and help you with a list of accredited schools in your neighborhood.

At the end of the day, choosing the best preschool for your toddler is a personal decision. If after visiting the school for yourself, you are happy with what you see, it's probably the right one for you.

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