Wondering how to prepare your toddler for a first time in school and achieve the smoothest transition?
Finally dressing up and going off to preschool or kindergarten is a remarkable milestone for both you and your child.
Sometimes it could be a tough task, but relax, get a glass of chilled drink to sip while you scroll through this article.
1. Talk About It
Never underestimate the power of conversation to motivate and empower an individual. You could use pretend play to explore the idea of preschool and psychologically prepare your toddler.
Talk about what the day will be like, what needs to be done to get ready, what they will do in school, how they are expected to behave, and how the school day will end, and so on.
You could take turns playing the parent, child, and teacher, and act out common daily routines, such as saying good-bye to mummy and/or daddy, chanting alphabets and numbers, reciting poems., having a lunch break, playing outside, and taking naps.
Reassure them from time to time that a preschool is a good place where they will have fun and learn, and answer whatever questions they might have, patiently.
2. Read Books About Preschool Together
Learning how to prepare your toddler for the first time seldom gets better than getting a sneak peek into other people’s experiences they were kind enough to write down. There are a number of books about going to preschool available. Get a few of those and read it with your child, a few weeks, and in the days leading up to the resumption date.
Ensure you pick really simple and relatable ones. Talk about the story and how the characters were feeling at different points in the narrative.
3. Go shopping Together
You possibly cannot underestimate the power of going school shopping- picking out a backpack, water bottle, lunchbox, new pairs of socks and shoes, with your toddler. This will get them excited and have them counting down to the resumption date when they will get to try out all that new stuff. To tune up the excitement, have them put aside and only used when school starts, to lock in the excitement.
4. Adjust To A Sleep Schedule That Will Work For School
Help your child get into a preschool schedule by keeping to his school bedtime, beginning about three weeks before school starts.
A vital part of preparing your toddler for school for the first time is that you start using your child’s “school bedtime.” Therefore, if the sleep schedule you currently have them on is one you would need to adjust when school resumes, it is important to you so not wait till that time, but start now.
Start this one month or 3weeks before school starts, so that their body clock can adjust accordingly. If 10 hours works for you, realise what time they will need to get up for school, count back 10 hours, and then start an hour before that with turning off screens and having winding-down activities like, storytelling /reading.
What this means is that, if your child needs to get up at 6 am, they need to be in bed no later than 8 pm.
5. Make Plans Ahead For All The Changes In Routine
Part of preparing your kid is preparing yourself too. Take your time; sit down and think things through. Ensure that you have a laid-out plan ahead for all the changes in routine that the new milestone is to bring with it.
Have you made back-up childcare or pick-up plans? Do you need to iron clothes every Saturday night ahead of the new week? Stock up the fridge with their lunch, so that all you do is heat it up when need be? Pick out clothes for everyone the night before?
Doing some advanced planning can make a huge difference. The more you plan ahead and have things ready, the easier the day to day school preparation will be for you and your toddler.
6. Keep Good-byes Brief And Sweet.
When it’s time to take your leave, do your best to restrain your emotions, at least until you leave their view range. You can hide whatever you are feeling behind a big smile.
Give your new preschooler a hug, and let him know when you’ll be back—”Mummy will pick you up after lunch,” then head out.
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Lingering will only spur up emotions of ‘not wanting mummy to leave them with a bunch of strangers,’ something you do not want.
Sneaking out when your preschooler is looking the other way is not an option either. This will only make them get insecure and less trusting.
If he/she starts crying, remember it’s normal for kids to have a meltdown when it’s time to separate don’t worry, just blame it on the fact that it’s their first time and be rest assured that he/she’ll be fine minutes after you walk out the door.
On the D-day
Wake up early enough so that neither of you has to rush to get to the school. Make them breakfast and if you’re not so busy, sit down to eat together or at least chitchat with him/her as they eat and you get ready.
The same way you’d pack their backpack with them the night before, pack your child’s lunchbox together too, and include foods that you know are his favourites.
Having some familiarity on their first day will make adjusting to the newness of things easier for them.
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