Preschool is a big step in your toddler’s life. New surroundings can be a challenge whether she’s home with you or a family member all day or in a daycare environment. But with a few small steps and some planning, the jump into school life can be a positive experience for everyone. Let’s get your toddler ready for preschool!
Try these 10 tips to get your toddler ready for preschool:
1. Work on potty training now
Most preschools require you to bring your child already potty trained (or at least mostly potty trained). The earlier you plan on starting preschool, the more important it is to begin potty training early.
Preschool can start at three-years-old, but some toddlers aren’t ready to be potty trained until they’re three. If your toddler isn’t ready for potty training, you might need to hold off on preschool until she’s four.
2. Start with a shorter day or shorter week
Many preschool programs allow your child to attend shorter school sessions. Consider a program that only meets two or three days per week initially. You can also opt for half-day sessions at some preschools.
The preschools in our area are two days a week and only two and a half hours long for three-year-olds. The four-year-old programs are three days a week for three hours.
3. Bring your toddler to play groups
Get your toddler used to interacting with other kids her age by having play dates and joining play groups. Offer opportunities for your child to become as comfortable as possible in social situations.
Toot goes to the library story time once a week. After the librarian reads stories, the toddlers get to do Ring Around the Rosy and other fun games. Then they get free play time in the toddler area.
She also goes to a creative play center with my BFF’s son once a week. They have lots of toys and things to climb on. And there are other random kids there that they can learn to share and play with.
4. Work on discipline early
Establish a consistent discipline routine with your toddler. Get your little one used to consistent consequences for misbehavior, and try to make them similar to consequences in preschool.
This is the hardest part for me. I’m very bad at being consistent. I need to work on that with Toot to get her ready for preschool.
5. Give your toddler art supplies
Get your toddler used to using art supplies like paper, crayons, and chalk. Many preschool days have arts and crafts time, and you can ease your child’s transition to school life by introducing art to her early.
Stickers are also fun art supplies that toddlers can use. You can get a giant pack of stickers on Amazon once and you’ll never have to buy stickers again. lol jk Toot asks for new stickers all the time.
6. Read to your toddler every day
When you read to your child every day, you help them to think and learn about the world around him. Pick new books to read every once in awhile, but reread your toddler’s favorites too. If you encourage them to read while they’re young, they’ll be excited about learning for the rest of their lives.
Set up a special place for reading like a book nest. Toot’s is just a papasan chair pillow that I put between her bookcases. It’s soft and fluffy and it reminds her of O the Owl’s book nest from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
7. Start naming letters and numbers.
Introduce your toddler to letters and numbers whenever you have the opportunity. Numbers and letters are often taught in preschool, but your everyday routine offers many opportunities to introduce these concepts in a fun, engaging way.
8. Identify colors and shapes
The same goes for naming colors and shapes. It’s a good idea to just point these things out to your child as you go about exploring life. Ask your child about different colors and shapes when you see them.
Colors are the easiest to teach because everything has color. We have a toddler table and chairs that are each a different color. She loves to play a game where I tell her which color chair to sit in.
9. Take your toddler to all checkups
Regular doctor checkups are important for ensuring that your little one is healthy. Your toddler may require certain immunizations in order to enter school. During your visits, your pediatrician will verify that her physical development is on track.
Your doctor will also ask you questions or have you fill out a form that will tell you if your child is behind in skill development. You can get an idea of where your toddler needs to improve and what you can work on.
10. Let her go
It’s tough to watch your little baby grow up right in front of your eyes. Getting ready to start school can be a big change in your toddler’s life, but it’s a big change in yours as well. Prepare yourself emotionally for the big day, and remember that preschool is simply the beginning of a new, exciting stage in both of your lives.
Is your toddler ready for preschool?
Let me know in the comments below! Preschool brings with it a set of challenges that you may have never faced before. As you adjust to the new routines together, remember that anything new brings special opportunities and experiences. Embrace those experiences together, and make the most of this new season of life.
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