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Guide to Preparing Your Child for Preschool

Two young children in a daycare environment playing with cotton balls. The young boy in the forefront is blowing one off his hand.

Two young children in a preschool environment playing with cotton balls. The young boy in the forefront is blowing one off his hand.

Sending your child to preschool for the first time can be a daunting experience for many parents.

It’s common to feel apprehensive about how your little one will adapt to a new setting, interact with peers, and handle being away from you. Fortunately, there are effective strategies you can employ to ease both your child and yourself into this transition. Here are several practical tips to get your child ready for school.

Tour the School in Advance

Before your child’s first day, visit the childcare center together. This allows both of you to meet the caregivers, familiarize yourselves with the premises, and understand the daily activities. Such visits can significantly reduce unfamiliarity, helping your child feel more at ease when they start. 

Discuss Preschool with Your Child

Prepare your child for what to expect by discussing what preschool will be like. Explain that they will meet other children and engage in various fun activities. Assure them of your return at the end of each session to ease any separation worries they might have.

Bring Comfort Items

Allow your child to take a beloved toy or blanket to the childcare center. A touch of home can help soothe and reassure them in the new environment.

Create a Farewell Ritual

Establish a consistent goodbye ritual to provide comfort and security to your child when you leave. A simple hug, a kiss, and reassurances of your return can make parting easier and more reassuring for your child.

Address Separation Anxiety

Many children experience separation anxiety when starting school. Remain calm and positive at drop-offs to influence your child’s mood. Quick goodbyes, without lingering, tend to ease the separation. Establishing a predictable drop-off routine can also provide stability and comfort.

Gradually Increase Preschool Time

Begin with brief childcare sessions to help your child acclimate to the new environment. Starting with shorter durations and slowly extending them can make the transition less overwhelming.

 

Starting preschool is a significant step for your child and can be filled with excitement and a bit of anxiety. By implementing these steps, you can support your child in feeling secure and happy as they begin this new chapter. An adjustment period is normal, and with your support and patience, your child will thrive in their new childcare setting.

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