My daughter just started preschool about a month ago and before she actually started, I don’t know who was more worried about it – her or me. Transitioning a child from home life to school life can be a difficult situation for both the child and the parent(s). Here are some tips that I’ve put together from my own experience to help other families have a smoother and hopefully easier transition from home to school.
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1. Take your child to see their school ahead of time
This is great so he/she can actually see and get an idea of where they are going to be every day. Show them the different buildings, the playground (if there is one) and, tell them what happens in each building if you know the school’s campus.
- Classrooms: Where the kids learn.
- Cafeteria: Where all the food was made and the place where all the kids ate breakfast and lunch.
- Library: Where all the books were and a special place for kids to read.
- Playground: Where all the kids go to play at recess.
2. Arrange to meet the teacher and see the classroom beforehand
Being able to see for yourself what your child’s classroom looks like and being able to meet your child’s teacher beforehand can be a great reassurance for you that your little one will be in good hands and in a great environment! You can also get a chance to observe how your child interacts with their new teacher. Your child will be able to see exactly where they will be spending their days and who they will be spending them with. This might help to be more comforting for them and everything won’t be so unfamiliar and scary. They can have a better idea of what to expect.
3. Go school supply shopping
Let them pick out a backpack and lunch bag that they like. Maybe with their favorite character on it or in their favorite color. Tell and show them what supplies they will need and a brief description of what the item is used for so they have an idea if they don’t already know: crayons – coloring, pencils – writing, folder – to hold all their papers in, composition book – to write in and etc. Make it fun and be creative! Let them pick it out and place it into the shopping cart. Hopefully, this will get them excited about all this great stuff they need for school and maybe start to look forward to the big 1st day!
4. Talk about it, whenever you can
Tell your child all the positive things about school. Like how much fun they will have, how they will make lots of new friends and get to learn new things.
Explain to them that you will have to drop them off and then come back to pick them up later, so they know that you will not be there with them.
5. Let them pick out their special first-day outfit
Either take them shopping for a special first-day outfit or allow them to choose what they will be wearing on their first day. It might be more comforting for them, knowing that they chose that outfit all by themselves.
6. Read books about going to school
Pick books with lots of bright, colorful pictures that talks about kids going to preschool and having a wonderful time. Show them all they have to look forward to.
7. Play pretend school at home
Children have big imaginations. You could pretend to play school at home with your child by setting up a small area in your home with a desk or small table, school supplies, maybe some stuffed animals sitting in a circle to represent the other kids. Pretend to be the teacher and teach them about something (i.e. alphabet, numbers or even animals). Make it interesting but, fun. After you could switch roles and let your child pretend to be the teacher and you be the student. Show them how they will have to sit down nicely, follow directions and listen to the teacher.
8. Start a routine
Do this early so your child has time to get adjusted to the way things are going to be from now on. Set a bedtime and have them in bed by that time. Wake them up at the same time every morning and follow a morning routine like the one they will have when they start school. Then make a day routine so they learn to follow it by a time schedule.
- 6:30 – Wake up
- 7 – Eat breakfast, brush teeth, get ready to start the day
- 8 – Work on learning the alphabet and numbers
- 9 – Go outside and play for a bit
- 9:30 – Snack time
- 10 – Arts and craft time or working with playdoh
- 11 – Lunch time
- 12 – Nap/quiet time
- 2 – Play educational games on the iPad
- 2:30 – Snack time
- 3 – Playing with building blocks or self-play time
- 5 – Help start cooking dinner (cutting veggies with a plastic knife, washing veggies, mixing something, anything you can find for them to help you with!)
- 6 – Wash hands and get ready to eat dinner
- 6:30 – Eat dinner
- 7:30 – Bath time and get ready for bed
- 8 – In bed, bedtime story
- 8:30 – Sleeping
I’m not telling you what your schedule has to look like. Obviously, you will have to adjust your schedule to fit your own lifestyle but, if you follow the same routine every day eventually your child will get used to it and it will be easier for them when they actually have to start a school routine.
These are just some tips that helped my family and I adjust to my daughter starting preschool. Every child and parent is different, so I’m not saying these will work for everyone but, I hope you’ll find something useful. It might be difficult in the beginning but, things will get better. Just be very supportive for your child and try not to show any negative emotions like crying so you don’t scare them or make them feel bad.
Do you have any tips for helping kids transition from home life to school life? Did you do anything to make the big first-day more special? I would love to know! Feel free to leave me a comment down below.