Preparing Your Child to Start Preschoolby Charlotte Zealey
Preparing your child to start preschool is something which may feel daunting. You feel like they are not ready to be starting preschool and not that far of embarking on a journey through the education system. Of course, this is something which we have experienced with Jess. She started the preschool element of her nursery. This came at the time she moved nurseries anyway because we had moved house. However, there were a few things which we did in order to make sure that she was ready for the preschool element. We did not have to prepare as much as some people I know because of her been in nursery since her first birthday.
Visit the Nursery or Preschool
This is something which helped us massively we took Jess along as well. This meant we could speak about the staff who we had met and were going to be looking after her while at preschool. There was one who she has become attached to during a couple of settling in sessions. We spoke about the new toys which we would be able to play with. Her preschool also had an amazing outdoor area which meant that we could talk about what she was going to be able to do. They do forest school as well which is something which interested Jess as an outdoors child. I feel like this benefited us and helped reduce her worries about starting preschool.
There are tons of books about starting nursery and preschool on the market. If this is something which you feel will help your child then it may be worth looking into some of these books. Again, this is not something we did with Jess because she already had the experience of being in a nursery setting. So overall, she knew what to expect, of course, there was going to be some slight changes however, these are something she has taken in her stride and actually embraced. If you are looking for books about starting nursery or preschool, I have actually found a lot so you are not going to have to hunt too hard to find them.
Help them do small tasks
Small tasks are something which they will be expected to do at nursery so why not start at home. For example, I know at our nursery by this age they are expected to put their own coats on. If this is something your child is not confident with you might want to practice before they go to preschool. Maybe only allowing them snacks at certain times because they are going to be expected to have to wait. I know Jess gets one in the morning and one in an afternoon. So, when she at home I only give her the snacks at these times so she is not too out of routine. If they have not been used to sitting for stories or sharing again these are key things they do in preschool. It may be worth practising.
Keep an eye on their behaviour
Your child may not be able to express how they are feeling about the changes. Secretly they may be worried or scared. This may result in your child becoming clingier, withdrawn and not wanting to do things or aggressive. This is something which we have noticed can occur if Jess has long periods of time off nursery still. Your child may even seem to move backwards in some areas as a result of having a massive change in their life. For example, if your child is fully potty trained, they may start to have toileting accidents. Try and not get angry about this and understand this could be as a result of starting preschool. They may even want feeding or you to dress them even though they can do these things by themselves. This is a phase and it is not going to last forever.
I know some preschools do have a uniform ours does but it is optional. So, at the moment we actually do not have it opting instead to put her in clothes we do not mind getting ruined. However, if you need a uniform, of course, you want to get it nice and early even make them wear it for an hour around the house so they get used to it. Same with shoes if they have new shoes it may be an idea to break them in so that they are comfortable when they start preschool. I would advise on letting your child help choose a bag which they are going to do. Jess did not get this luxury because we used the bag we had from nursery before. To be honest it is a skip hop one and has lasted us nearly 3 years.
Set A Bedtime and Wake Up time
This may not be something which your child has ever had in the past. This was not something which we had to introduce; however, we did change timings. We found that if they did not have a set bedtime it could make Jess tired and not want to get up the next morning. Meaning that we could have a battle on our hands if we did not watch it. We made routines to make sure she knew what was going on. On a night we make sure we put pyjamas on, read a story and then have kisses and cuddles. This makes Jess aware that it is actually bedtime and she needs her rest. Of course, in the morning we get washed and dressed makes sure that she brushes her teeth. We are actually lucky she gets breakfast at nursery in the mornings so we do not have to do this.
What tips do you have for a parent with a child starting preschool?