Beginning preschool is an exciting time in the life of your young child. New friends, colorful classrooms, and learning new skills are some of the perks for children enrolling in Pre-K classes. However, some children may need help getting interested and excited about this major milestone, which is where you come in.
The following list outlines some helpful tips to help get your child interested in beginning preschool and stay involved in regular attendance:
Excite them about what they are going to experience prior to their first day of school. Explain to your child that they are going to make new friends, see new faces, and have delicious snacks. Talk with your child about the games that they are going to play and the songs that they may sing. Continue to remind them of these activities in the following days, even after they have already begun school, continue to encourage excitement and a positive attitude.
Engage Them to Make It Interesting
Start the school year with a fresh start. Allow your child to pick out new token pieces of clothing that they are interested in, encourage them to choose their own school supplies in colors and shapes that excite them, show them the best backpacks for school, and allow them to make decisions regarding breakfast and packed lunches/snacks that they were not often permitted to have while at home.
Pamper Them A Little
As with meeting other milestones, allow your child to have new privileges that they were not previously privy to. Good behavior at school may equate to an additional television program or extra playtime outside. Children, even the most stubborn, thrive when they are given the opportunity to make their own decisions.
Listen to Their Concerns
Your child may be worried about certain things. Spend some time with them listening to their concerns and explaining to them that it’s normal to feel worried when you start something new. Visiting the preschool with your child will help them become familiar with the environment and will ease their concerns.
Plan Everything the Night before
Make sure that your child helps you with the following tasks the night before:
- Let your child pick out what they will wear the first day at preschool.
- Ask them what they want in their lunch box.
- Answer any questions your child may have about starting preschool.
- Ensure that your child goes to bed on time so they can get a good night’s sleep before the first day.
Be on Time for the First Day at Preschool
Try to make the first day of preschool as relaxing and comfortable as possible.
- Wake up early to avoid rushing to the preschool and making everyone feel stressed.
- Talk to your child and answer any last-minute questions while they are eating breakfast.
- Arrive a few minutes early so your child can settle in.
Have a Positive Tone While Saying Goodbye
Try not to look sad or worried while saying goodbye as your child can easily pick up your reactions. Don’t stay longer than 15-30 minutes. When you notice that your child has settled, leave immediately. A short and upbeat goodbye will reassure your child that everything is fine.
Encouraging your child to be interested and engaged in school, even during those first few years, helps promote an interest in education and learning for years to come!
Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care Programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.