One of the most exciting milestones of childhood is entering preschool. But it can also be very stressful, not only for children but for parents as well. If you want everything to go well, you should prepare both yourself and your child for this moment. Preparing is especially important if it is the first time going to any type of school for your child. Here are 5 ways to do so.
Check out the preschool
It is always a good idea to check out the preschool before you actually sign your child up. Take your child with you in order to see how he will respond to the environment and fit in. It is also a good way to observe how the teachers treat children and make sure you are signing your child up into the right preschool. You should be allowed to come as many times as you want. Some of the preschools will also let you leave your child for a couple of hours and give you feedback on the way he/she acted. Once the visit is over, you should only talk positively about the preschool and see how your child liked it.
See how he will do without you
Another important thing to do before your child enters preschool is to see how your child will act when you are not around. You should practice leaving your child with other people such as grandparents, relatives or friends. At the beginning, you should leave him/her there for shorter periods and then build it up until your child is ready to spend half of the day without you. Even then, your child will have a hard time staying with teachers he/she does not know, but it will get better once he/she gets used to them.
Once your child enters the preschool he/she will spend more time with other children than he/she ever did. For some children this may be difficult at the beginning, so practicing social skills may be a good idea. Take your child to the park and have him/her play and interact with other children. If you do not know anyone who has a child their age you can always join a mother/child group and have your child interact there. It can also be helpful if you explain to him/her the idea of sharing and giving.
Prepare your child to feed himself
If your child did not eat on their own before, you should try to practice it with him/her. Get a small plastic knife and fork and teach your child how to use them. Make sure he/she knows which side is sharp and should not be touched. Even though staff in most of the preschools will do this for the children, it is a good idea to have them aware of how knife and fork are supposed to be used.
Help your child learn
You can also try practicing letters and numbers before your child enters preschool. There are many books and online games that encourage letter and number learning. You can also try to invent interesting games that will require your child to use them. Do not worry if he/she struggles a bit at the beginning since most of the preschools follow Montessori approach which allows all children to learn at their own pace. Once your child starts feeling comfortable at the preschool, you will definitely see some results.
Do not forget that it is important for yourself to prepare as well. You should get used to leaving your child with other people and letting him/her do things on their own. The earlier you both start practicing the better.