But sending your toddler to a new environment can be a stressful time as well— for both you and your child. Parents often have questions about how things will go: How will he adjust? Will she experience separation anxiety?
Whether this will be your child’s first preschool experience or if he or she is returning for a second or even third time, there are ways to make this transition easier.
I’ve asked preschool teachers and early education experts to share their best advice for preparing children for preschool. Do you have a tip to add? Please share it in the comments!
Visit the Classroom 1 of 7Prepare them with information! Arrange a meeting with the child's teacher or a time when you can go to the classroom with your child. - Julia Hembree certified in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in K-2, experience as a nanny, Kindergarten teacher, and SAHM
Let Your Child Make Some Decisions 2 of 7Let your child pick their own school supplies and backpack.Your child will feel more excited and empowered if they are given ownership of their choices.- Julia Hembree certified in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in K-2, experience as a nanny, Kindergarten teacher, and SAHM
Photo Credit: Surly Girl/Flickr
Be Positive 3 of 7Use a positive voice and phrases when discussing school. If you are excited, your child will be too! - Julia Hembree certified in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in K-2, experience as a nanny, Kindergarten teacher, and SAHM
Photo Credit: redjar/Flickr
Be Consistent 4 of 7Expect tears and hesitation at first. Create a firm drop off routine to help with the transition. (Such as hang up backpack, read a short book, hug/kiss, and leave.) - Progressive Mom at Bright Horizons
Photo Credit: Megan Weimer
Read Books about Preschool 5 of 7Read lots of books about starting school (Llama, Llama Misses Mama for example)
$12.23 at Amazon
Spend Short Periods of TIme Apart 6 of 7It's a good idea to give your child the opportunity to spend short periods of time away from you in the months and weeks before school starts. If your child hasn't spent time with a babysitter or in a nursery before, coming to school and spending time with a strange caregiver can be a complete shock to the system at age 2 or even 3. - Jenny Hobson, Preschool Teacher and blogger
Photo Credit: Megan Weimer
Prepare YOURSELF! 7 of 7Perhaps even more important than preparing your child for preschool is preparing yourself. Sending your child to preschool is the first step in sending your child out into the world. It can be an emotional time, so be gentle with yourself. And don't be embarrassed by your feelings. Your child's teacher understands what you're going through. For the most part, preschool teachers are experienced parents who have been there before you. At the same time, try not to look too far down the road and stress too much. It's just preschool. The teacher does not expect your child to be a perfectly behaved, college-graduate genius at age 2. We expect that your child has come to preschool to laugh and cry and learn and make mistakes and be a toddler. For the most part, we don't even expect them not to poop their pants! So it really will all be okay. - Jenny Hobson, Preschool Teacher and blogger
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
More by Mary Lauren: