Beginning preschool is a monumental step in your little one’s life. This is a big adjustment — not only for your child — but also for you as a parent. Even though every child will have a different experience transitioning into school, some may find this time relatively daunting.
Although you can’t physically be by your preschooler’s side all day, you can still hold their hand through this transition. Here are six ways you can help ease your little one into their new school routine.
1. Establish a Healthy Sleep Schedule
An essential part of transitioning into any schedule is following an effective sleep routine. Try to begin adjusting their bedtime in the preceding weeks of school. Each day, they can sleep 10 minutes earlier than the previous day until they can wake up early enough for their school routine. This will ensure that your little one feels refreshed and well-rested on their first day.
2. Always Leave Extra Time
Getting ready for school — including brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and eating breakfast — may be more fast-paced than what your child is used to. It’s a good idea to wake up extra early during their first week of school. This will give you and your child more time to figure out their routine and become acquainted with it. Ideally, you also want to leave your home with more than enough travelling time. By arriving early, you’ll be able to settle in more comfortably.
3. Discuss Expectations
Preschool can be an intimidating place for newcomers. Support your child by informing them about what the environment will be like, which activities they’ll participate in, who’ll be present, and any other general expectations. Together, you can practice going through common icebreaker activities and games. You can even turn this process into a game by playing “school,” which can include activities like packing their food into a lunch kit and sitting in a circle for read-aloud.
4. Carry a Comfort Object
Similar to when you’re travelling with your little one, they may feel more comfortable bringing along an item they’re familiar with. For instance, a comfort object can be a stuffed animal, a small toy, or a blanket. Hopefully, this will help your child feel more at ease and eventually grow comfortable enough to go to school without their beloved comfort object.
5. Familiarize Yourselves with the School
If possible, consider taking a school tour before the first day. This will allow you to look at the playground, the classroom, and other areas of the school. If you don’t have time to tour the classroom before beginning school, it’s never too late. On the first day, you can set aside time, either before or after class, to tour the school with your little one. Even a small piece of information, like knowing where the bathroom is, may help your child feel more familiar with the environment.
6. Make Friends
Social support can be highly beneficial for you and your child in a school environment. Your child may organically become acquainted with some of their classmates, but if not, you can arrange your playdates with other parents.
Your school may have some form of a parent’s club, in which other enthusiastic parents will participate. This can be another great outlet to connect with parents in the community and stay informed about the school’s activities.
Written by: Alicia Chow
Check our other blog: 5 Tips for Travelling with Young Children