As summer winds down and school approaches, your family may be full of excitement, apprehension, or both. Whether a new or returning family, here are things you can do to get your preschooler off to a great start.
Talk it up, and check it out together.
Kick off the preschool year with the parent-child orientation. It’s a great time to explore the classrooms, help your child find their cubby, and highlight activities you know your child will enjoy. Take the time to introduce yourself and your child to other parents and children.
Preschoolers are active! A typical school day may include climbing, running, painting, sand and water play. Dress your child in play clothes that can get dirty and allow ease of movement. Closed toe shoes with a good sole allow children to explore the play yard safely. You might also pack a spare set of clothes, diapers and wipes to tuck in your cubby or your child’s backpack.
Have an exit strategy.
Establishing a routine can help make your child’s transition to preschool easier. Upon arrival, you might share a story together, or discuss the day’s activities. Help your child engage in a favorite activity (play dough, anyone?) or join friends in play. While every child separates at their own pace, it’s best to avoid a long goodbye. A quick hug, kiss, and farewell should be followed by your exit. Teachers will be ready to step in and help your child through the transition. Children are sensitive to our emotions so if you are the one having trouble separating, make a plan to meet a friend for coffee (or a boo-hoo breakfast) but keep a cheerful goodbye for your preschooler.
Ask the right questions!
If you ask your preschooler how their school day was, it will most certainly be answered with one word- good. Asking specific questions will help your child recall their day, and give you a better picture of how they spent their time at school. Great questions might include: What did you play with inside? Did you make a project? How did you make it? What did you play outside? Were other children playing that too? Do you remember their names? What story did you hear today? Did you sing any songs? What did you eat at snack? Who sat at your table today? Thoughtful questions can be a nice way to reconnect with your child after school.
The preschool years are full of growth and wonder. We look forward to sharing this special time with your family.