Preschool is a major stepping stone into the outside world for little children. It is as much a big event for the parents as it is for children. Preschool provides the child a very solid foundation for full time school. This is an important transition period for both the parents and the child.
When my child started her preschool, I was so nervous and worried, but to be honest, she just took it like fish in water. She had no worries, she was cool and composed and she loved the fact that she got to play with kids of her age. For her, going to school was associated with fun. But this is because I had prepared her for it.
Let Them Be Independent
Children need to learn to be independent and often as parents, we tend to go and help them in every challenging situation. This gives them the feeling that someone will always be there to help them. But it is better to just let them learn things in their own way. This way they will realize that sometimes there are failures, but if you persevere, you can succeed.
We need to encourage our children to become independent in doing basic things like washing hands by themselves (even if the soap is used 3 times just because it is fun!), opening lunch boxes (even if it means them trying 4 times before coming for help) and zipping up a backpack (even if it means they have to keep trying for a long time). These little lessons of independence often help children become more confident and they are ready to face preschool with a lot more enthusiasm.
Just like we teach our babies to start enjoying baby jumpers by placing them and securing them in it, we need to let our preschoolers know that they need to be independent but we will be there at every step to take care of them.
Potty training a child is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks as a parent of a young child. I remember I spent so many days trying to potty train my kid, and I wondered if she would go to college in diapers. But I realized that every child is different. Some get trained in days, while some take months.
The most important thing is to give them time and have some patience. Giving them small rewards like a sticker every time they use the toilet, as well as teaching them to flush the toilet and wash their hands, will encourage them to be independent by the time they start preschool.
Being With Other Children/Social Skills
Often, children find it difficult to adjust when they are surrounded by other children of their age. It takes time to adjust and the best way to deal with this is to ease your child into such a situation. Before your child starts preschool, ensure that you take her to different playgrounds or neighborhood party, so that she is used to having children around it.
It is important to teach children to wait their turn, not to snatch things away and be polite and articulate about what they want. Children take time to learn things and the best way would be to start doing this from early one so that they can adjust to being in a group setting.
Most preschoolers are often trained in a lot of things, but one of the things we often overlook is to teach our children to take care of their own things. Teach your child to count the number of things he or she takes to school. Make a list and put it on the fridge, and ask them to check against that every day. Ask them if they have taken their bag, their lunch box, their water bottle and an extra pair of clothes in the bag.
And then laminate the same list and give it to them to put in their bag, so that they can keep it in their cubby at school, so that they can refer to the same list. Since preschoolers are not comfortable reading, make a pictorial list for them. Ask your preschooler to check with the list if he has brought back all the things.
Such lists not only teach them organization, but also teach them to count and identify things. While this may not be needed throughout the preschool year, teaching this early on, just helps the child become more organized.
Having Basic Information about Themselves
Pre-schoolers need to know their name, their parents name and house address. If they are ready, teach them the phone number of the house or either of the parents. If your child has some allergies, ensure that the child is taught to say no to that particular food. Teach the child to speak to a responsible adult whenever he or she is in doubt of anything at all.
Your child who is ready to go to preschool should be able to follow simple instructions. This comes handy while the teacher is instructing the students to do tasks. Even simple directions like going to the cupboard and bring a glass or taking out the crayons and coloring in the book are good ways to introduce children to learning to follow instructions.
While a lot of us get stressed if our children do not follow instructions, remember that in a group setting under the influence of a loving teacher, most students do follow instructions and in fact, love to do it.
Teach Them the Importance of Basic Hygiene
It is good to let your child know the importance of basic hygiene. Washing hands before eating or after toilet, using a tissue in case he or she has a cold and sneezing into the elbow are some of the basic things every child can learn easily. A child is like a sponge and the earlier you teach these basic hygiene to children, the better it is for them, and the faster they learn.
Basic Academic Skills
No one expects a preschooler to be an academic genius but it is always good for the child to have a positive approach towards learning. Ensure that you let them know that learning is an enjoyable experience and not something to dread about. Make everything a fun game and each preschooler will be ready to lap it up.
Teach them that it is good to try and try again and never be afraid of failure. Basic academic skills like learning about colors, or shapes or grasping a pair of scissors correctly will help your preschooler gain confidence in the class. Teach them how to use a glue stick or how to string beads to a thread. This helps in the gross motor skills and teaches them patience.
Let them learn and recite the alphabet song or sort simple things by color and shape. Each of these skills are a foundation to learning more detailed academic things.
Make School A Fun Place
The most important thing we need to teach our children before they join preschool is to let them know that school is a fun place to go to. There are great friends, fun things to do, many things to learn and awesome teachers to meet every day. Teaching them that school is fun is the best way to make them ready for the transition from home to school.
Do you have any specific ideas about what a preschooler should know before joining school? Do let us know in the comments section.
About the Author
My name is Serena, founder of Kittymoms.com. I’m a mother of three gorgeous children. Their health is very important to me. I share with you the experiences I have had while homeschooling my child and living an active, fulfilling life, and hope that my experiences will help you on your family’s journey to becoming healthy, happy individuals.