If your kid is reluctant to start preschool, there’s no need to worry. Kids adjust to new settings and people with a lot of difficulty. Preschools understand this challenge and work to make their school as friendly as possible. The best way you can help a child get over this hurdle is by helping them understand how exciting school will be by talking about it often and setting up playdates with the friends they’ll be meeting.
Talk about the fun things that happen at preschool
When it comes to preschool, your attitude is hugely influential. Kids are very sensitive to our feelings and emotions. If you’re timid or nervous about sending them off to school, they’ll pick up on it and feel the same way. But if you’re excited and upbeat about their new adventures, they’ll be more likely to feel that way too.
To help your child get excited about going to preschool:
Talk about the fun things that happen at preschool. If your child knows what to expect, they’ll be more confident and comfortable on the first day of school. Tell them they’ll be able to color, play with toys and make new friends. Reminisce about your own experiences at school if you have any fond memories to share.
Talk about how they’ll have fun with their new friends while you go back to work or do some errands by yourself. Let them know how much you have missed having time alone and that a little separation is actually a good thing for both of you.
Have your child meet some of the other children who will be attending the school. You can call the preschool’s director for help with this — many schools arrange a playground or park meet-up for families before the school year starts so kids can get acquainted before their first day.
Read books about preschool
Getting a child ready for preschool can be nerve-wracking for both parents and kids. For parents, preschool represents the first time their little one will be out of their care for an extended period of time; for children, it’s a new world full of unknowns and unfamiliar faces.
Reading books about preschool is the easiest way to prepare your child — and yourself! — for this exciting transition. Before you take your baby to class, read them books about their new experience to help them feel more comfortable in their new environment. Here are some of our favorite books that will get your kid excited about starting school:
“The Night Before Preschool” by Natasha Wing: This book tells the story of a young boy who is nervous about going to his first day of school. His older sister explains what he can expect on his first day, explaining that he’ll play with toys, meet new friends and even have lunch with his classmates. By the end of the story, the young boy is no longer nervous about going to school after hearing such positive things from his sister.
“Preschool Day Hooray!” by Linda Leopold Strauss: This book follows a group of kids as they go through their first day of preschool together.
Set up playdates with new friends
It’s tough to be the new kid in a new classroom. You have to start all over again, build new friendships and find your footing. Fortunately, there are ways to make this transition easier for your child, like getting them excited about making new friends in the classroom.
The easiest way to do this? Set up a playdate with other kids who will be in their preschool class before the school year starts. This will help your child feel more comfortable on the first day and give them something fun to look forward to.
The good news is that most schools have a list of students’ names and contact information so parents can get in touch with each other. The bad news is that schools aren’t allowed to share personal information without permission because of privacy laws.
The solution? Send out an email or letter that includes a request for contact information for other parents in your child’s class, along with an invitation for a playdate over summer break.
Introducing your kid to a new environment can be a scary thing for parents, with plenty of precautions and preparations that need to be made. But with these tips, you’ll be able to ease the transition for both you and them. Your kid doesn’t have to be a preschool pro already in order to have an excellent experience; you just need to take these steps, introduce them properly, and let them get used to their surroundings on their own time. Preschool has never been easier—or more fun!