How to Prepare a Toddler for Preschool

Chicago Preschool
little boy coloring with his mom

Entering preschool is a huge step in your child’s life. After all, it is a significant milestone that can cause mixed feelings for you and your kid.

On the one hand, you can feel excited for the new opportunities awaiting your kid. On the other hand, you might also face a bout of sadness from being away from your kid.

And like with any life stage, getting started with preschool is not easy. Your kids will most likely need time to adjust to the new setting. Make the transition easier for your child with these tips.

  1. Create a Schedule

  2. Before preschool starts, keep your days structured by setting, following, and sticking to a schedule. After all, kids learn best when there is a clear picture of their day.

    If you don’t have one yet, you can begin crafting a simple and easy-to-follow schedule for your kid. Slowly introduce the tasks before they go to preschool, such as preparing their bags. It helps them settle into a new rhythm right in time for school.

    With a ready-made schedule, your kid has ample time to mentally ready themselves for the day. It is also a good practice to lessen their anxiety for the first day of preschool.

  3. Build a Morning and Bedtime Routine

  4. Predictability brings a sense of comfort and reassurance to children. Thus, it’s important to create a consistent routine that your kids can easily follow throughout the day.

    To make things easier, you can draw a chart listing all the tasks that your child needs to do during the day or night. For example, a morning routine can have these items:

    • Fix the bed.
    • Take a bath.
    • Get dressed.
    • Eat breakfast.
    • Brush teeth.

    Meanwhile, a standard nighttime routine can include these tasks:

    • Eat dinner.
    • Wash hands.
    • Brush teeth.
    • Change into pajamas.
    • Go to sleep.

    This practice eases them into the routinary schedules that most preschools have.

  5. Hear Out Your Kids

  6. Your child may express distress or concern before or after starting preschool. Perhaps, they feel anxious about moving away from home for long periods. In some cases, they feel shy to talk to other people.

    In this stage, your support as a parent is crucial. How can you do this? By actively listening to them. Let your child tell you their worries and let them know that you listen to them. For example, if they feel scared, you can say that it’s okay to feel that way and that many people share the same feeling.

    When you encourage them to share their worries, you can help them find ways to deal with them.

  7. Take Note of the Non-Verbals

  8. But sometimes, kids are unable to communicate their thoughts and feelings verbally. In this case, you need to pay close attention to their actions, body language, and other nonverbal cues.

    For example, they may cling to you more than usual. Other times, they may become more withdrawn or act more aggressively. During these times, you need to be more patient with your kid. After all, they need your support more than ever in this milestone.

  9. Read Books about Preschool

  10. Reading offers plenty of benefits to your child, not only for developing their language skills but also for preparing them for preschool. For one, it builds their vocabulary and enhances their imagination. Moreover, it’s a great vehicle to introduce how preschool works to your kid.

    You can select from various books in your public library or our reading list. Read along to these stories before preschool starts. During the reading session, discuss how the story goes and ask your child how they feel. 

  11. Roleplay A Preschool Scenario

  12. Wondering how to get your toddler ready for preschool? Look no further, for play is the answer!

    Pretend play lets your kids practice basic preschool routines, so they can get a taste of what will happen during schooltime. It also puts them in control of the scene and helps lower their anxiety.

    To make things interesting, you can switch roles: from a child to a parent or a teacher. Act out scenarios of dropping them off at school and picking them up after. You can also re-enact routine tasks like putting on their coat or typical school activities like singing songs.

  13. Exercise Fine Motor Skills

  14. Fine motor skills are one of the things that can tremendously help your kid for preschool. After all, exercising the fingers, hands, and wrists is crucial for using scissors, pencils, and other items. Luckily, there are many ways to develop these skills at home.

    For example, you can ask them to take on arts and crafts projects that will get their hands moving. They can also cut and collect clay or play dough using toy scoops and scissors.

  15. Build Self-Help Skills Using Games

  16. Kids at this age are all about play. What better way to catch their attention and teach than with a series of fun games?

    For example, you can race them to see who can tie their shoes the fastest. To help them get ready for school lunches, you can set a lovely picnic before their first day. Then, ask your kid to open their lunch box, unwrap their sandwich, and use the correct utensils.

  17. Visit the School Grounds

  18. For an extra dose of assurance, you can ask permission to have a sneak peek of the preschool premises before your kid’s first day. It gives them a chance to explore and observe their new surroundings. It also helps them become more comfortable in the place.

    Consider requesting a tour during class hours so your kid can take a look at how a day in preschool typically goes. If not, you can walk around the campus on the weekend. Along the way, explain each place and the activities within the area.

  19. Make Goodbyes Easier

  20. It’s natural for kids to experience separation anxiety before going to preschool. After all, it’s a new environment filled with uncertainty.

    Fortunately, you can use different techniques to make drop-offs and goodbyes easier. The trick is simple: you have to keep it short, simple, and sweet. Try your best not to linger around, so your kids won’t have a hard time parting from you.

Learn How to Prepare a Toddler for Preschool Today

Preschool opens your toddler to different learning experiences before entering grade school. Aside from choosing the right preschool, it also pays to get them ready for the new place. These tips will guide you in supporting your child in this important life stage.

For more tips on taking care of your toddler, visit the Rayito de Sol blog.

February 5, 2022