5 essential skills your child needs to survive preschool

Before the new school year starts, get expert advice on prepping your tot for preschool!


Starting preschool is a major milestone your tot will face in early childhood. Besides having to complete more tasks on their own, they’ll also find themselves among unfamiliar faces in a new environment.

Noting that attention should be paid to your child’s emotional well-being at this stage, parenting expert Fiona Maher O’Sullivan stresses, “If your child feels [alright], they will behave right and that would help them pick up new skills, faster.”

While getting your child ready for preschool may seem daunting, the good news is that it’ll develop the same set of skills they’ll need to do well in Primary school, too! Both O’Sullivan and Think Psychological Services’ clinical psychologist Dr Vaani Gunaseelan suggest ways to build the skills your little one needs, so that they’ll get the most out of preschool…

1) Can cope with separation anxiety

WHY? Unless your child has attended nursery classes, preschool will be the first time they’ll be on their own. Your mini-me may show signs of separation anxiety either by throwing a tantrum before school or refusing to go to school. O’Sullivan, who is from Incontact Counselling and Training Centre, adds that research shows that boys may face more separation anxiety than girls. “[Boys] may take longer to adjust to the transition, and so we may have to give them more time to [get used to it].”

EXPERT ADVICE Don’t be your kewpie’s only caregiver, O’Sullivan shares that this will make it tougher when you both need to separate. For several days a week, get someone else to watch your little one instead. O’Sullivan advises, “Start with short periods of separation and slowly work your way up to longer periods.”


“[Boys] may take longer to adjust to the transition, and so we may have to give them more time to [get used to it].”

Building your sweetie’s confidence will encourage independence. Let them do simple things like feeding themselves, going to the toilet on their own and standing on a baby stool to wash their hands. “The most important thing to note is to allow them to take ownership of the activity that they are doing and allow them to make mistakes.”

Dr Vaani stresses that you should refrain from doing tasks for them, which they can do themselves like getting dressed or brushing their teeth.


2) Able to follow a schedule

WHY? Preschool classes are carried out on a fixed schedule. Your mini-me must be able to follow through with the activities, so that they won’t upset or affect the rest of the class.

EXPERT ADVICE Implement a schedule at home, so that your child will know how to follow a routine. A simple one consists of things like when your child is expected to wake up, what time lunch is and the activities you’ve planned for him. You should also prepare them as you transit from one activity to the next. Dropping hints like “We will be leaving for the park once you’ve taken a shower”, tells your kewpie what to expect and when to expect the next activity.