Preschool is a big milestone for both parents and children. While there’s a lot to look forward to with preschool, it can also create stress and anxiety. One way that parents can help themselves feel more comfortable with this change and also reduce the likelihood of their child experiencing a lot of anxiety is to take some steps to prepare. If you’re wondering what exactly you should do to prepare your child for this change, we’ve put together a list of the best tips to help you out:
1. Get Social
Spending time with other children is a big part of preschool. Regardless of how much time your child currently spends with kids who are similar in age, prepping for preschool is a great time to add a few more of those hangouts to your weekly schedule.
2. Talk in Detail Instead of Broad Strokes
Parents often say things like “it will be the most fun you’ve ever had” when their child asks about preschool. Although those statements are made with good intentions, they’re not necessarily the most helpful for kids. A better option is to be as detailed and honest as possible with your responses. For example, you can talk about the types of activities your child will be doing and that there will be other kids there as well. Be sure to schedule at least one school visit prior to preschool officially kicking off.
3. Create a Goodbye Ritual
One of the reasons preschool is a common anxiety trigger for children is they aren’t used to being away from their parent and get worried that they won’t come back or won’t be able to find the school. You can help to counteract these fears by coming up with a little ritual where you explicitly let your child know that you’ll be back later in the day. It’s also a good idea to add a buffer of time for the first few days in case there’s a need for any extra time to say goodbye.
4. Emphasize Reading and Listening
You really can’t spend too much time reading to your child. Whenever you do, make a point of getting your child to actively listen and engage. This will help develop the skills that will be needed when your child is listening to a teacher in class.
5. Enjoy Creativity
In addition to working on reading and listening skills, art projects like molding clay or finger-painting are great for developing fine motor & visual skills. Having lots of art supplies that your child can enjoy is very beneficial. A tablet with apps that are designed to spark learning and creativity can be a great option as well.
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