Successful Start To Preschool

Going to preschool is a huge step for children!  It is a big moment for parents.  Here are some tips for getting off to a successful start!

 

Be Confident In Your Child

Be confident in your child to succeed in school.  If your concerns are that your child might not behave well at preschool, or make friends, or will be anxious, give him or her a chance.  Children often behave differently depending on the environment.  How many times have you heard a parent complain that their children behave better at home than school?  Children also tend to love preschool and want to do well.  Give your child a chance before alerting the teacher to your concerns.  The school will usually reach out if there is a concern.

Get Help If Your Child Isn’t Meeting Milestones

If your child isn’t reaching milestones such as speaking fluently, reach out to your local public preschool or pediatrician for help.  Your pediatrician can help you determine if your child needs to be referred for a developmental assessment.  If your child is identified as having a developmental delay, your local school system can help arrange for needed services such as speech, physical, or occupational therapy and special education preschool.

Read the Handbook

Your preschool handbook will often be available online or you can request a copy.  The handbook is a wealth of knowledge regarding procedures for discipline, illness, inclement weather, and more.  Instead of guessing what to do, be prepared by knowing in advance.

Give Your Child And Teacher Some Space

Your child and her teacher need time to get to know each other.  Your child needs to learn the structure of preschool and what are the expectations and consequences.  Even if you disagree, if your child comes home upset about something that his teacher says, try to show that you support the teacher.  If you are concerned about abuse, contact the school principal or police.

Talk About Starting Preschool, But Not Too Much

It is fine to let your child know that she will be starting preschool.  You can shop for a backpack and visit the school playground.  Avoid talking about preschool all the time as it may send a message to your child that there is a reason to be worried about preschool.

Predictable Home Routines

Predictable routines for sleeping and waking will make sure your child is well-rested and ready to learn each day.  Additionally, predictable routines will help your child relax and participate fully in preschool.

Be Ready for An Adjustment Period

Don’t be surprised if your child is more tired and irritable during the first week or so after starting preschool.  Remind yourself that this adjustment period will not last forever.  Think of it as your child is getting used to a new job.

Model Calm

The more that you can show your child that you are calm about preschool the more your child will try to imitate your calm behavior.  Your child is looking to you to guide him.  If you model that “everything is okay,” your child will be able to absorb this message and look forward to going to beginning her education adventure.

Sending your child to a new experience can be both exciting and a little scary.  It is normal to be worried about your child.  Growing up can be hard both for parents and their children.

 

Jennifer Luria is a highly skilled child and adolescent psychotherapist. Ms. Luria holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Iowa. She is currently on staff at Hope Springs Behavioral Consultants in Coralville, IA.