Setting Children Up for Success @ Preschool
1. Make sure you get a lunch box, drink and bag that your child can open and close easily without help. Some children are too shy to ask for help, and it also boosts self esteem if children can do things for themselves.
2. Prepare your child by taking them for a walk or drive past their preschool about two weeks before term beings. Let that spark a conversation about preschool – if your child doesn’t want to talk about preschool don’t force it.
3. Make sure to dress your child in comfy clothes and shoes can get dirty and/or wet. So often children tell me "I'm not allowed to get dirty" and it can interfere with their having a good time. Another tip is to not comment on how dirty they are when you come to collect unless it is in a positive way: "you must have had so much fun getting all muddy."
4. Pack a small snack they will have time to finish. A yogurt and one piece of fruit is perfect. Anything more and they may not have time to eat it or they may just not be hungry enough to eat it but are afraid they'll get in trouble going home with uneaten food. This can lead to children tipping food into the bin that hasn't been touched in an effort to keep it from parents.
5. Tell your child to speak up if they need to use the toilet or mention to the teacher if you feel they might be afraid to ask. A gentle reminder from teacher might be the motivation they need to use the toilet without fear. If your child is struggling with toilet training consider calling the preschool and asking if they can attend in a pull up. Never pressure train your child to use toilet as this so often leads to much bigger problems down the line - think chronic constipation.
6. Don’t tell your child how much fun they will have at preschool or talk about all the friends they will make. This can cause anxiety if things don’t pan out the way you promised. Just keep to the facts.
7. A loving but short goodbye at the door shows you have trust in the preschool teachers. Do not dawdle or show uncertainty even if your child is upset. This will only reinforce your child’s fears. The preschool will call if your child doesn’t settle.
8. Be prepared for tears and upset for the first few days or even weeks. This is a big change and it can take a while for children to accept it.
9. Ask your child if they had a good or bad day – then ask why. Try not to pass judgment - just listen and empathise if they are having a hard time. However, if they are having bad days all the time, sit down and come up with strategies to overcome what is getting the way of them having a good time. Consider having a word with the teacher if it's something worth bringing to their attention.
For more details please watch my stories where I will elaborate on these points. Some are already covered in my saved stories.