Sending your child to preschool or even playgroup has to be one of the biggest milestones. It is sweet to buy a tiny backpack and watch them wear it and twirl around in it. Okay, so maybe that’s just me. Either way, going to school or any kind of place where the social and intellectual capacity of a toddler is enhanced, is a BIG deal. Then why is it such a problem?
Many parents have a terrible time helping their toddlers adjust to a new school. Some kids hate it because they don’t know what this new place is! They whine, they cry, throw public tantrums and do everything in their power to stay with the parent, than go to the big and scary school. Thankfully, there are simple ways to help your toddler not only adjust, but to love going to school!
Prepare months in advance
If you plan to put your toddler to playgroup or preschool in the next academic year then you have ample time to prepare. If it is a sudden decision then you will face some opposition, naturally.
You don’t want to be an asshole parent and completely disregard your child’s feelings, right?
Children feel the same things we feel. They feel shame, embarrassment, just like we do if we were pushed into a party where we don’t know anybody. Imagine that. How awkward is it to start a conversation with complete strangers?
So, get your toddler up to speed with things. Make sure you teach your child a few simple things before preschool starts.
Can your toddler say their name?
Does your toddler know a few of the popular rhymes? Wheels on the bus, twinkle twinkle, etc.
Is your toddler aware of shapes, colors, names of fruits and vegetables?
Preparing your toddler for playgroup goes a long way. When your child knows a few things, they feel confident to participate. Otherwise they feel inadequate and not so good about their new scary school. They find comfort in the familiar things mommy and daddy have been talking about.
Explain with Visuals
For toddlers, a new space, facing so many new people could be a frightening experience. Especially when they do not understand WHAT a school is! We can’t say “go to school” and expect them to know what it is. You need to help them understand basic concepts for school success. The millennial kids need visuals. If you want to teach them what a school is like, show it to them. Thankfully, technology makes that so easy now.
Activities to Prepare for Preschool
As soon as my baby turn 15months old, we learned about shapes, colors, fruits and vegetables. My Pinterest board has simple printouts you can use to start some activities to prepare your child for preschool at home. These games from Amazon also helped a lot :
If you don’t feel DIY-ing anything, that’s ok too because you can buy ready-made activity boxes. We love the Flintobox! Read the review and watch the video about it here.
Books to build vocabulary
Close to the age of two, they can grasp and understand concepts. So we read books to build a rich vocabulary. Your children will mostly attend an English medium preschool, right? Reading books is a great way to help your toddler learn the language and consequently understand what the teacher says in preschool. These were our favorite “first” books.
Since we don’t have TV, we are at the liberty to pick and choose the cartoon our babies watch. We have Netflix and that’s where we met Caillou and Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood. We love these guys. Each episode is about a concept like “the first day of school” “making breakfast” or “going to the zoo”. The characters are nice and I love watching it too because I learn the patient way the parents communicate with their toddlers.
You can easily find them on Youtube. When your toddlers have a tablet or watch TV, lookup such concept related episodes to give them a visual of what you’re talking about.
We watched this episode of Daniel’s first day of preschool countless times. And you know what? Toddlers love repetition. It doesn’t matter to them they’ve already watched it. They can watch the same episode every day if you let them.
Plan a Visit
Before you enroll, it is always a great step to visit the preschool with your toddler. Don’t let their first day of school be their first day of school. Bring them along once or twice. But before you do, make sure you get them excited about it.
“We’re going to school!”
Talk about it… a lot
Let your toddler think about the preschool. Let it be in their minds that someday, inevitably they will go to school and that’s a good thing! When you talk to your toddler about the new preschool, making new friends, having fun there, etc. it will get them excited. Your toddler will look forward to the day, instead of dreading it.
Tips for the first day of preschool
- Go shopping with your toddler and pick a backpack, lunchbox etc.
- Get the clothes, shoes, and bag ready for the ext day, the previous day.
- Sing a song about. Ours was: “We’re going to school! We’re going to school! la La LA”
- Most importantly, pray for your children, that’s the best thing a parent can do to let GOD help you and your child to deal with life’s new challenges!
So what other tips do you have? Please open your heart in comments here.