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8 Ways to Help Your Child Transition Into Preschool

The first day of preschool is one of the most exciting yet emotional day’s parents and children experience together. As a mom of three, I can definitely understand the emotional roller-coaster most may feel as the big day approaches, so I've put together a few tips that helped me prepare my first daughter for preschool.

1. Take your child for a couple trial visits at their new school
Trial visits will allow your chils to experience the flow of the day. If the school allows it, ask if they can take a nap and have lunch there one day as well, so they get a better feel for their new routine and surroundings. 

2. Reading books about going to preschool
Reading book that potray pstive preschool experiences can make your child feel more comfortable about starting school. I try to stay away from the overly emotional books that might make a child nervous but each child is different and you know your child best so pick books that you feel will be a good fit. (Ex: Maisy Goes to Preschool and Barney and Baby Bop Goes to School)

3. Talking to them daily about preschool
It is my belief that when children see their parents happy and speaking positively about starting preschool then it gives them a sense of security. Ask your child's teacher for a sample class schedule beforehand and use it to strike up conversation with your child about what their day will soon be like.

4. Go over the rules
With all the excitement don’t forget to talk about the classroom rules and why they are important. Be sure to reiterate those rules in your home. (Ex: Use walking feet, nice touches, speak in your inside voice and be polite to your friends)

    5. Let them choose their own school supplies 
    Some children may like a certain character or a specific color, whatever the case give them a couple choices,so they can feel like a big kid. They'll love walking out of the store with their new school supplies.

    6. Have the "appropriate” touches talk 
    I don’t know about you but this is a talk that I wish I didn’t have to have, but it's a must. It’s important for your child to know what is not ok, so that they are aware and can tell you if something ever happens. This talk is different for each family, `so go with what you feel comfy with sharing. 

    7. Practice Nap time at home
    Children love structure, so try to make nap time around the same each day. I have my 2 year old get her nap mat, pillow and blanket in preparation for nap time and then I like to close the shades and put on Naptime Radio via Pandora to make it a "real" preschool experience. Lots of children can’t sleep with noise and since most preschools play music during this time, it's a good idea to get them adjusted to falling asleep with background noise. I have volunteered many times in the classroom and there is always a couple children that dread nap time, as a matter of fact I was one of those kids and I actually quit preschool the first day because of nap time... LOL! But, seriously some children just don't like nap time and that’s okay; every child is different. Since you know your child best do what you can to make nap time pleasant for them at home and at school. If your child simple isn’t a nap person be sure to tell the teacher before the first day, so she can prepare appropriately for them. 

    8. Teach your child self-help skills 
    The average preschool classroom size for 3 and 4 years old is around 18 kids and even with two teachers; it can be a challenge trying to handle everyone's needs. Even the best teachers appreciate parents who teach their child to help themselves. Here’s a few ways to do so…
    • Show your child the proper way to wash and dry their hands. This saves time in the classroom and helps prevent illness from spreading.
    • Teach them to clean up behind themselves, so it won’t be a shock when it comes time to clean up after center time in the classroom. 
    • Make sure you buy clothing that they can zip, button and buckle themselves. Since they can't tie their shoes as yet, you may want to buy the Velcro ones to make it easier for them to strap up.
    • Let your child practice wiping themselves when they go to the potty because teachers can’t do it for them. Ask your child’s school if they can use flushable wipes for a better clean.
    • Encourage them to feed themselves, this may seem unimportant but I have saw many kids who will not eat unless the teacher sits next to them and feeds them.  This really makes it rough on the teacher and the other students, so to be fair and make life a bit easier on the teacher, encourage this self help skill. You should also show them how to clear their portion of the table after they eat, so that it will be second nature when they go to class.
    Keep in mind, your child will be in a classroom setting with many other children for 3 to 12 hours, 5 days a week, so you want to make the transition as smooth as possible. I hope these tips help you prepare for a great preschool year!

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