Starting preschool is a significant step for any youngster and their parents. Whether they are starting preschool for the first time or they are changing from a nursery to a preschool, making sure your little one is ready for the change will help prepare them as they move into a new environment.
If you are taking advantage of the Government funded hours for your child, make sure you use one of the approved childcare providers. To find out more visit their website: https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds
Here’s some helpful hints to get your toddler ready for preschool!
Preparing your toddler for interaction with other children will help build their confidence. Encourage playdates with children the same age or slightly older and instigate games that enforce taking turns and sharing toys. Remember at this age children normally play alongside each other rather than together so don’t worry if they are happily playing alongside each other instead of playing a game together. If you haven’t got a network of friends with children of their age, try and join a local mothers and toddlers club to extend their playdate circle. Visit the netmums website for more details on clubs and groups in your local area: https://www.netmums.com/
Visit the preschool
A visit to your child’s new preschool where they can meet their new teacher and look around the school will help them feel comfortable and familiar on their first day. Preschool’s like Tigers Day Nurseries will encourage your child to visit them before their first day and may even allow them to stay and play for a short while to help them familiarise with their surroundings. Afterwards talk through their experiences positively but also chat through any worries they may have.
Building independence is a key skill to learn at this stage of their development. Small things like zipping and unzipping their coat, hanging it on their peg will start to teach them independence. Learning how to take their shoes off and put them on again, as well as using the toilet and washing their hands will also help. If your child is having a packed lunch, have a couple of picnics before the first day and pack their lunchbox as if they were at preschool. They will then learn what to expect at lunchtimes and how to unpack their lunch and unwrap food.
You can ease your child into spending more time away from you by gradually getting them used to spending time with other carers like grandparents, family members and friends. Start with little trips away like going shopping for an hour or going to a Dr’s appointment without them. Build the time up so that they are comfortable with being away from you for a whole morning or afternoon.
Pretend play is a great way of familiarising your little one with the routine of preschool so that they can get used to the daily tasks. Act out arriving at preschool, taking your coats off, hanging it and their school bag on their peg and anything else that you know is part of a normal day at their preschool. You can even use puppets to help with role play so that they can get used to calling the teacher by their name.
If you’d like further information about how to help prepare your child for preschool visit the baby centre website: https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a554854/preparing-your-child-for-preschool