Preschool is a big step in your toddler’s life. 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Bring your toddler to play groups. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 awhile, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take your toddler to all checkups. Regular checkups are important for ensuring that your child is healthy. 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.
- 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.