What an emotional milestone for both you and your child this is. It is so exciting and a little sad at the same time to see them grow up and off to a school. Every child is different but we have prepared some tips to guide you on this new journey.
- Visit together. If you are able, plan to go to your child’s new school together before their first day. Tour the classroom, play on the school playground a few times before your child starts the program. This may help your child get more comfortable with this new space.
- Pretend play together at home. Take turns role playing to be a teacher and a student. Act it out out, from saying bye to mommy, to sitting in classroom, playing, colouring, then having lunch and getting ready to go home. This may assist in minimizing any anxiety your child may be having about this new step.
- Turn getting-ready skills into a game. Role play taking the coat/shoes off and on, zipping the backpack. Have your child assist in making his pretend lunch and then have a picnic eating it together.
- Share your own school experience. Recall your stories when you were going to preschool and share them with your little one, add some imagination, and make it sound like a fun new experience.
- Listen to your child especially if they are expressing their concerns. Let them know it is ok to feel scared and nervous but focus on the positives such as new friends, new playground and all the new things they will learn.
- Have a good-bye plan. Make sure this is a plan you agree upon before the first day. If possible, plan to stay for 15 minutes on that first morning can help ease the transition. Together, the two of you can explore the classroom, meet some other children, play with a few toys. When you see that your child is comfortable, it is time to leave.
There’s a lot you can do in the weeks before to get ready for the big day. But try to keep your efforts low-key. If you make too big a deal out of this milestone, your child may end up being more worried than excited. Maybe look into getting some books about preschool, review some of their writing, reading skills, make sure they feel confident and safe about this new amazing journey ahead of them.
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