There's a new backpack hanging in our mudroom & that can only mean one thing...
Yes, it's time for my third (and last child) to head off to preschool! This fall, Abby will be starting preschool. It only totals six hours a week, but it's hard to believe that I will have all three kids in school and that my last child is approaching this big milestone in her life. Five years ago, I said good-bye to Aiden (my oldest) as he headed off to nursery school. Two years later, Andrew (the middle child) started his first year. And here I am, about to do it again & yet, it still causes a little uneasiness and nervousness as I watch my little baby head off to school. Today, I am sharing some simple reminders on some easy ways to help transition your littlest one for this big day!
8 Tips to Help Prepare Your Child for Preschool
1. Adjust your schedule 2-4 weeks before school starts. Make sure you get your child used to the routine of their preschool day. Plan lunch around the same time you will eat lunch on school days. Plan rest time around the same time that they will rest on school days. Helping them get used to the routine will help them transition smoother to the routine on school days. We even work on moving bedtimes up & rise a little earlier than usual so we are ready & eager for the first day of school!
2. Pick out a few special items for preschool. This could be new shoes, lunchbox, or a fun backpack with your child. Abby loves animals, especially dogs & cats so when we saw a special cat backpack, we knew that she would love to head off to preschool with a kitty on her back!
3. Play on the playground before school starts, especially during the summer before preschool starts! When we moved to our town two years ago, the new school playground was one of our favorite spots for the kids to play before they started at their new school. It helped them get used to the school area & they were excited to start school and be back on the playground every day. We also met other families and children that were also attending the school. (Just check with the school before you head over there as some schools do not allow this opportunity!)
4. Here are some of our favorite books for this young age to help with the transition to preschool:
5. Practice separation. Try to help your child get used to being dropped off & picked up (and you saying good-bye!). This could be at a gym daycare, grandma & grandpa's house, or a church nursery. It helps so much for a child to already be used to this process before starting preschool, trust me! My oldest was so hard to separate from, but thankfully Abby has been left in care of family, friends, & more that she is totally okay with this transition which makes me feel more prepared for the big preschool day!
6. Talk about school experiences. The boys love to tell Abby about some of their favorite things about preschool: running on the playground, playing the drums during music class, & creating fun art projects with their teachers. Talking with them about fun experiences is a great way to prepare for their new school year!
7. Try to think of simple ways to help them reassured. This could be packing a small lovey in the backpack for the day or establishing a good bye routine. I have learned, over the years, to make the good-bye simple and sweet. Give them a kiss & tell them to have a great day and then leave (even if they are crying). Teachers know how to deal with the stars and most likely all will stop within several minutes, or at the worst several days but they will most likely adjust. Continue to be positive and uplifting about school and your kid will feel the same way!
8. Work on teaching independent age-appropriate skills with your child. At not even 2 1/2, we are working on very short directions including: cleaning up toys & listening to simple directions.
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