Here are some top tips to help get your little one prepared for preschool.

Tips for preparing your toddler for preschool

Here are some top tips to help get your little one prepared for preschool. Starting something new can be a daunting prospect, even as adults, change can bring a sense of worry. When you’re a child, it can seem overwhelming. Some children will be ready at the door with their backpack on, eager to start preschool. Others will be worried and anxious. Regardless of how your child is feeling, these are some top tips to help get your little one prepared.

Talk about preschool to your child

Talk about the things your child will do at preschool. You could highlight some games they will play and link the games back to home. You can look at photos of the preschool and talk about some of the things that are different from home, like the toilets and playground.

Follow your child’s lead with talking, so that your child feels comfortable talking about preschool, but doesn’t hear about it too often. If your child doesn’t seem interested when you talk about it, don’t push the conversation.

Keeping things low key can be a good idea too. If you say ‘Isn’t it exciting that you’re starting preschool?’, your child might start to feel more anxious because it sounds like a big deal.

Visit the preschool before your child starts

It’s always a good idea to let you child know what to expect. Visiting the preschool in the lead up to their start will be beneficial for both you and your child. You might even negotiate with the preschool that your child does a couple of short days to get used to their new surroundings. A slow, easy transition can often be a good way to approach this new change. 

Read books about preschool

There are plenty of books out there that can help you explain to your child what preschool is all about and how their day might operate. 

Establish a good routine

Your child will feel safe when they know what to expect each day. Working out a simple daily routine can help them with a smooth transition to preschool. You could set up a routine for preschool mornings – for example, get up, have breakfast, clean teeth, get dressed, put on sunscreen, pack lunchbox and go. You could even make a chart with pictures showing the different steps in your routine.

Develop a routine for saying goodbye

Say goodbye to your child so that he or she knows you’re going, and tell them that you will pick them up at the end of the day. Say goodbye once and leave. Long drawn out goodbyes are difficult for both you and your child and can make a situation more difficult. If you need to, explain to your child that you will read them one book at preschool and then you have to leave. Again, letting them know what to expect makes them feel safe and more confident. They will soon begin to understand the predictableness of what is happening each day. 

Communicate with teachers

Let teachers know what is happening in your child’s life and if there is anything out of the ordinary that they should take into consideration. You should also let the teacher know as much about your child as possible – things like your child’s favourite books or songs, if you have special visitors staying with you, or your child’s favourite sport. 

Let your child see you and their teacher talking warmly, it will give your child confidence that you are working together.    

Share in their excitement

Your child will be that much more enthusiastic to return to preschool if you can share in their excitement and build on what they have learnt throughout the day. Celebrate all the small things with them, it will grow their confidence. 

Dr Sarah Golsby-Smith

Head of Learning and Teaching at PLC Sydney

Sarah has also taught in both government and independent schools, as well as across co-ed and both single sex schools i.e. girls schools and boys schools.