7 steps to prep your mini-me for preschool

We have fuss-free tips to smooth your toddler’s transition to preschool as easy as ABC!

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When your kiddo starts preschool, you will likely be in an emotional tug-of-war. While you’re excited about the new experiences and friends he’ll make in preschool, you also feel apprehensive about how easily he’ll adapt to this new situation.

Depending on your peewee’s personality, he may be enthusiastic about going to preschool or feel fearful that he has to hang out with a bunch of strangers. Since this is a novel experience for him, you’d do well to take the trouble to ease your child into this brand-new environment during this transition period.

In the lead-up to your child’s first day of school, involve him as much as possible in the preparations, like:

* Letting him pick out a backpack he fancies Go shopping with him for his uniform, bag and water bottle. This items can give your little one something to look forward to.

* Labelling all his belongings Label his water bottles, pencil cases, bag and tell him about the importance of taking care of his barang barang.

* Figuring out how to get to school Map the route with say, Google, then head out on this “adventure” together.

Explain that while you know school is a big change for him, you have faith that he can do it because he is a big boy now.

Now that you’ve nailed the necessities, follow these tips to make the journey to preschool less daunting for your peewee (and you):

1) Watch your child’s behaviour
Your child may not be good expressing his emotions verbally just yet. So, look out for clues to his emotional and mental well-being by taking note of his non-verbal cues, such as being clingy, withdrawn or aggressive. These behaviours may only surface after the first day or week, so stay alert. 

Also watch out for behavioural changes like whining and bugging you to dress him, even though he is capable of doing it on his own. This might frustrate you, but keep in mind that these regressive behaviours don’t usually last long. Stay firm and don’t feel pressured to give in. Explain that while you know school is a big change for him, you have faith that he can do it because he is a big boy now. Notify the teacher and get her to keep an eye on him. You might even wish to discuss with the teacher if you can anything at home to ease your child’s anxieties.

2) Attend “pretend” school together
Your pre-schooler is at an age where he learns better through play. So, dress up and indulge in a little pretend play ― by taking turns to be the teacher and the pupil. Be sure to re-enact the first day of school such as saying goodbye, singing nursery rhymes, reading stories and heading outdoors to play, as well as taking naps. This is the time to show him that preschool is a place of fun, games and learning. Says Daniel Koh, a psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, “Role playing can also let the child be able to learn basic communication skills, such as asking to go to the toilet or playing with others.” 

3) Visit the school before the first day
Ayman Zaidi, a preschool teacher at Bright Kids School House, points out that uncertainty is the cause of all the anxiety on the first day of school. So, make it point to familiarise junior with the ocation and environment before his first day. Koh says, “It’ll be best to introduce the school, teachers, routines and tasks to your child before school starts, so that your child will be familiar with these things.” 

Take a walk around the campus and point out where the toilets, classrooms and playgrounds are. Remember to ask teachers, too, for information on school programmes and activities. This way, you can field your little one’s school questions with confidence.

More helpful tips coming right up!