Wow, you are about to officially have a preschooler!
Many parents find this to be a bittersweet achievement. Even if your little one has some daycare experience, going into preschool is a transition and change can trigger some anxiety.
While you don’t need to run flash card drills, here are some ways that you can establish a good foundation for your soon-to-be-preschooler at home.
Music is a fantastic medium for little kids. Why? Because music is usually pretty fun. The more interactive the song, the better. Not only will music help them learn, express their silliness, and (dare I say) exert some of that seemingly endless energy via dancing, but it could also be an icebreaker for a nervous new preschooler. Everyone knows “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” right?
Most preschools are going to help your child learn life skills and become a bit more independent. You can start with small tasks at home, such as having them help put toys away or bringing their dishes to the kitchen after dinner. Think of this as the road to chores you don’t have to do yourself (win-win).
At preschool, your child will have ample opportunities to interact with other kids. As such, there will be a fair amount of sharing involved. While they are unlikely to master the art of sharing, it’s a good idea to practice taking turns. This also applies to mom or dad’s attention, since they’ll have to share their teacher’s attention at school too.
Pro tip: Siblings make for great practice partners.
Reading with your child has a multitude of benefits beyond preschool prep. It builds their vocabulary, enhances their language skills, and is generally good bonding time with whoever is reading to them. Parents should try to read with their children every day. In addition to learning benefits, books are a great way to help explain new or (potentially) scary situations, like starting at a new school.
5Practice basic knowledge
Your kid doesn’t need to be able to spell their name or read on their own, but it makes sense to practice some of “the basics” at home. This includes the alphabet, numbers, and colors. It’s as simple as pointing things out when you encounter them. “What color is your toy car?” or “How many ducks are there? One, two, three ducks!”
Most little kids have an interest in animals. They can be from the farm, the zoo, or even dinosaurs. What’s more fun than pretending to be an animal and getting to make lots of noise? Pretend play is great for their imagination and may even help them make a new friend.
What did children do before screens? Besides reading and art time, there was free play. Have your little one expand their mind by letting them figure out how to entertain himself. Maybe you let them “pretend cook” a meal with pots and pans. Or you could take a trip to the park and let them create their own adventure.
You usually don’t have to do much convincing to get your preschooler interested in an art project. Coloring, painting, and playdough are all great ways to nurture self-expression and get ready for some of the fun activities they’ll likely enjoy at school.
9Have a routine
I’m probably preaching to the choir on this one, but if you’ve made it this far into raising your child and you don’t yet have a routine, now’s a good time to start one. Most preschools run on a schedule. At the very least you’ll need to drop off your little one on-time and assumingly fed and clothed.
10Socializing with others
The best way to develop and strengthen social skills is to be, well, social. Playing with others helps your child learn skills like negotiation, sharing, basic politeness, and teamwork. Kids tend to make friends relatively quickly. Spending more time with others might also help them get acquainted with a high stimulant environment like preschool.
11Practice being away
One of the biggest concerns parents have about preschool is how to handle separation anxiety. Many preschoolers are apprehensive about being left in a new place with new faces. If your child isn’t used to be without you by their side, take a few practice runs if possible. This could include having them spend some time with a grandparent, babysitter, or at a playmate’s house.
12Create a goodbye ritual
Saying “goodbye” in the morning is often the hardest part, at least at first. You can help prepare them mentally and give them a bit of consistency by making up your own special way to say “goodbye.” This can be as simple or intricate as you like. If you need a little inspiration, try a phrase you know they like or a fun