Starting preschool is always an emotional experience, both for our little learners who are being initiated into an entirely new routine , and for their mothers who are trying hard to cope with their own mixed emotions of not wanting to let go, and celebrating their toddler’s new found independence!
While each parent and child undergoes this transition at their own pace, setting some ground rules and operating from a place of understanding helps in easing the difficulties that are typically associated with this transition. Here are some activities to prepare your child for preschool that will ensure a smooth transition from home to school.
Pre-School Settling Activities
Most preschoolers are still in the process of creating an identity that is independent of the primary care giver (in most cases the mother), so they will reflect the anxiety or the confidence exuded by the mother. So, Mammas…..always say a happy goodbye before leaving, never sneak out while your learner is busy, and be on time to pick him/her up. This will establish a routine that will inspire confidence in young learners who are in the process of developing coping skills.
Role play is something that all young children enjoy, and it can be used as an effective tool to teach social emotional skills. Role reversals during pretend play can help your toddler look at the situation with a different perspective, and empower him/her to deal with reality. Listen to your toddler carefully, and never dismiss their fears as ‘being silly’ or ‘childish’.
Spend time reading books about preschool, It is equally important for us ,as adults also to acknowledge our own ambivalent feelings and deal with them so as to not pass them on. Also set aside a reading time with your child that will familiarize them with books and develop a fondness for them.
As your preschooler gets ready to take a big step towards adulthood, it is time for us to reflect on how we are preparing him/her with the self help skills required for this transition. Setting simple routines like picking up after themselves , dressing skills and basic toilet training will help ease them into school routines. You might also notice changes in your child’s behavior as he works through his feelings. Children often regress in one area as they make developmental growth in another. You may notice regressions in toilet training, sleep patterns etc, however with nurturing support these can be overcome together. This training is the best way to prepare your child for preschool.
Keep In Touch
Even if your child has attended a toddler programme , a new school and a new set of teachers may create feelings of anxiety. Communicate with teachers on a regular basis, and seek their help when required, because teachers have a vast repertoire of experiences to draw solution from.
Preschool is a time of tremendous growth and opportunities. With just a little preparation, you can make this transition a confidence-building and fun experience for both you and your child.