Our eldest child is embarking on his journey into the school system. At 3 1/2, it’s time for him to start preschool.
We have spent the last few months talking about how exciting it will be to go to school like the big kids, how much he will learn and all of the new friends he will make. He could not be more excited and because of that, I’m excited for him!
But he will be the first child I’ll send to school and naturally, thinking about him growing up so quickly makes me a little sad.
To combat those fears and jitters our little ones (and their mamas) may experience when attending preschool for the first time, I wanted to share some of the things he and I have discussed.
I’d love to hear how these ideas work for other kids and families. Many of these topics can be applied to any grade level.
IDEAS FOR AN EASY TRANSITION
- Start by talking to your child about preschool. My son and I discuss what he will learn: numbers, letters, social skills and independence, imaginative and cognitive play. We’ve started with these at home so it will feel familiar when he experiences these things in the classroom.
- Try to find out what their first day will entail. (Examples: First we put our backpacks away. Then we take attendance. After that, we have circle time where we will sings songs.) In short, let them know what to expect.
- If applicable, make school supply shopping fun! Without breaking the bank, it can be fun for your child to buy pencils or folders with their favorite cartoon character on them. My son could hardly wait to use his Paw Patrol pencil case.
- Ask them any questions they may have the night before. This will give you time to answer questions and alleviate any last-minute concerns before you’re running out of the house in the morning.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher. Make this a regular thing. This can make a huge difference in your child’s success at school. Find out what you can do to help your child and the teacher to set them up for success.
- Ask your child what they did at school that day. A lightbulb moment for me was listening to Jason Tippets, a Pastor at Westside Church, talk about questions he asks to get his kids to open up, regardless of age. Some examples: “Who did you sit with at snack time today?” “Did you notice anyone playing by themselves?” “What made you happy in school today?”
DEEP THOUGHTS ON PRESCHOOL
By asking more thought-provoking, open-ended questions rather than the typical “What did you do in school today,” you are engaging with your children to get more detailed responses AND encouraging them to think of others and their feelings, as well.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to talking about school with your child—there are plenty of topics to discuss. And let’s face it… I’m no expert here. This is the first kiddo I am sending to school. I could use advice, too! How did you prepare your child?