I am in Preschool.
I was not built to sit still,
Keep my hands to myself,
Stand in line,
Or keep quiet,
All of the time.
And to engage the world with my whole body.
Let Me Play
(Trust me I’m learning!)
If preschoolers could actually put their thoughts into words, the aforementioned lines are probably how they would have expressed themselves. Getting ready for their Big Day – first day at preschool – is a milestone both for the parents as well as for the child too. Here are three things to keep in mind as you prep your little one for D-day.
Read aloud together
Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book by Lucy Cousins talks about how going to preschool is equivalent to having fun – you can paint in your favorite colors, listen to exciting stories, play in the sand with friends and dance to music. Allow your child to explore the wonders of the new world he is about to step into with the bright and cheerful illustrations of this book denoting a typical day at preschool. What to Expect at Preschool by Heidi Murkoff is another good option. In a question-answer form, it will address all your child’s queries – what exactly is preschool, what are preschoolers expected to do, why and how it is such an enjoyable place and so on. The key is to ease your child’s transition into this new, unknown world. Here is a list of books which will make for good reads pre-preschool.
Use imaginative play
This is something fun you could do with your child at home, several days prior to their first day at school. Make it a game of sorts – one could have you acting as the teacher and your kid the student, or vice versa. Help them get a feel of what a typical classroom setting can be like (even if it’s just playschool or preschool). Visit the preschool in advance to know what their normal routine is like and act it out at home; right from saying goodbye when you drop them at school, to singing nursery rhymes, playing hopscotch, having snacks, and even taking short naps if it’s a part of the routine. The idea is to make your child comfortable in his or her new surroundings. Explain to her that there’ll be lots of other kids in school and she can make friends and have fun. Building a sense of anticipation in the child’s mind will go a long way in making the first day at preschool a success.
Be more social
Simply visiting kids of similar ages who are about to go to school or even those who are already in preschool and getting them to interact with your child can do wonders. One of the first things your child is about to learn in preschool is how to make friends, how to get along with others his own age. It is best if he has some experience in spending time with other children beforehand or else on the first day of preschool, he might find himself lost in a bunch of loud kids! Set aside a fixed time every evening when your child can go out to play with other kids her age, invite the neighborhood friends she makes over to your place for chocolate chip cookies and fun virtual games on the tablet, or discuss with their parents and enroll the kids together in a music class, or swimming class, or skating class. Spending time together with other kids will give a child a sense of what to expect in the coming preschool days.
And yes, as parents we do tend to get a bit emotional at times such as this, when our little one takes her first steps into the big, big world. Just make sure you cheerily wave a goodbye when you drop her to school and rest assured, she’s going to come back home with all sorts of amusing tales to regale you!