Preschool is a big step in your toddler’s life. Are you ready?
Whether your child is used to being at home with you all day, or he’s already used to a daycare environment, the shift to a new routine and new surroundings can be a challenging one.
However, with a few small steps and some advance planning, the step into school life can be a positive experience for both of you.
Try these 10 tips to get your toddler ready for preschool.
1. Work on potty training.
Many preschools require you to bring your child already potty trained.
The earlier you plan on starting preschool, the more important it is to begin potty training early.
2. Start with a shorter day or shorter week.
Many preschool programs allow your child to attend shorter school sessions.
Consider a program that only meets two or three days per week initially. You can also opt for half-day sessions at some preschools.
This can make the transition easier for you and your little one.
3. Bring your toddler to playgroups.
If your child has many experiences in playgroups with other kids, he will be used to interacting with other children.
Offer opportunities for your child to become as comfortable as possible in social situations.
4. Work on discipline early.
Establish a consistent discipline routine with your toddler.
Get your child used to consistent consequences for misbehavior, and try to make those consequences similar to the ones he’ll face in preschool.
5. Give your toddler art supplies.
Get your toddler used to using art supplies like paper, crayons, and chalk.
Many preschool days feature a time of arts and crafts, and you can ease your child’s transition to school life by introducing art to him early.
6. Read to your toddler every day.
When you read to your child every day, you help them to think and learn about the world around him.
Pick new books to read every once in a while, but keep returning to your toddler’s favorites also.
If you encourage them to read while they’re young, they’ll be excited about learning for a lifetime.
7. Start naming letters and numbers.
Introduce your child to letters and numbers whenever you have the opportunity.
Numbers and letters are often taught in preschool, but your everyday routine offers many opportunities to introduce these concepts in a fun, engaging way.
Something as simple as noticing the letters on signs as you are driving will help.
8. Identify colors and shapes.
The same goes for naming colors and shapes.
It’s a good idea to just point these things out to your child as you go about exploring life. Ask your child about different colors and shapes when you see them.
With all of the apps and videos, it is easy for your child to learn about colors and shapes. You can reinforce what they are learning during playtime by using blocks and balls for example.
9. Take your toddler to all checkups.
Regular checkups are important for ensuring that your child is healthy. This includes a physical and a checkup with the dentist.
Your child may require certain immunizations in order to enter school.
During your visits, your child’s doctor will verify that his physical development is on track. And your child’s dentist will ensure they have no cavities and teeth and jaw are developing well.
10. Let him go.
It’s tough to watch your little baby grow up right in front of your eyes. Getting ready to start school can be a big change in your toddler’s life, but it’s a big change in yours as well.
Prepare yourself emotionally for the big day. And remember that preschool is simply the beginning of a new, exciting stage in both of your lives.
Preschool brings with it a set of challenges that you may have never faced before.
As you adjust to the new routines together, remember that anything new brings special opportunities and experiences.
Embrace those experiences together, and make the most of this new season of life.
Alexis H. says
I absolutely love this article and it’s so nice to see so many of the things I worked on with my child, mentioned! We’re still working on potty training, and he’s currently in special-needs preschool. But I think it’s important for moms to know that we won’t always hit our “mom goals” when we want, and it’s okay. At the end of the day, like you said, we have to just let them go and work on the preschool process as a team!
Roz Addler says
Love this article! #6 and #10 are my favorites. I used to run an in-home pre-k program. The only thing I ever really pushed was for parents to read to their child. I had so many moms stressing out about what their child could or couldn’t do. Each child always developed on their own timeline and it was beautiful. Love how you said to “let them go”. Such simple advice but hard for so many (myself included) to do.
I never realized how important reading was for my kids. You are right. Kids develop at their own time. And it’s not fair to compare your child’s progress to another child. The advice is simple, but not easy.