Parenting | Twins

How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool

Back-to-school has arrived and I recently learned How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool.

Are you singing the Staples song yet? ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

For my oldest, I know what to expect because I have been here before. I know that I’ll have mixed emotions when sending her off to Grade 3.

How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool

It’s a different story for my twins, they are starting preschool this year {ahhh!}. I had them briefly in a nursery program last year, and it didn’t go so well. Let’s call it a huge clash with the teacher and her schedule plus there was a huge variety of kids in that class and I believe it wasn’t geared for the age that the twins were. Lesson learned, let’s move on.

The twins, though excited to attend preschool next week, they remember the not-so-good experiences from last year. I’m fully prepared for that to cause some anxiety and hesitation trickling into this year. And, I want to start the year off on a positive, new and refreshing note. I need a clean slate to hopefully help them to have a better experience for Preschool.

After some research, chatting with fellow Mom’s and my own practice with my kids this last week; here are my tips for preparing your child for preschool:

  1. Talk About It! I have been talking to my twins about specific things they will be doing at their new preschool. Make sure you have the facts for this one. Since we have visited, they have a general idea of what’s there for activities, learning and play. I remind them of this from time to time, all in a positive way.
  2. Read Books: We have quite a few books about school, especially about what goes on there with specific topics such as learning and friends. Since it’s their first time in an actual school setting, it’s been a help for them to understand just what ‘school is’. Remember, preschool kids are young, they need to know what it is, so it’s not a matter of a fear of the unknown.
  3. Routine:  Start the wake-up routine now, so that it’s not a new surprise come the first day of school. For us it’s: wake, dress, eat and brush teeth and do hair. If routine was tossed right out the window during Summer, start now to leave plenty of time for them to adjust.
  4. Master the Goodbyes: Have you been attached to your kids for most of the summer? It may be a good idea to arrange a sitter for a couple hours this week, to get your kids used to not seeing you all day, everyday. This is especially true for the ‘attached to Mom’ child. To prevent the felling of abandonment, try and arrange some time away from your kids {hooray!}, just so that they get used to being with someone other than the usual.
  5. Suck It Up, Mama! I know it’s hard to send your baby off to Preschool. I know I’ll be feeling a little sad that day. Yet kids sense your emotions, and your reaction could really influence their experience. So please, try not to cry as you say good-bye or cling for 10 hugs. Doing so could increase their own anxieties and fears – so suck it up and if a tear must be shed, do it after you walk away. You won’t be the only parent blowing their noses in the car before you drive away!
  6. Take Along Some Comfort:  If you think your child might have a hard time on their first day or first week, check with the school and see if your child may bring a comfort object for ‘just in case’. Something small which depicts comfort and love, it could be just the thing to calm them if they are having a hard time. Suggestions: a photo, very small stuffie, friendship bracelet, or simply a note on a piece of paper saying, “I love you. Have fun!”
  7. Be Early:  This goes for drop-off and pick-up. Go early to meet a couple friends, walk the property or talk with the teacher before school. As well, be there when he/she is right done school. If they are last to be picked up, this will cause further abandonment concerns. We all will run late from time to time, but make sure it’s not within the first couple weeks of school. I think you can, I think you can!
  8. Talk about their day:  Make sure to always ask questions about school. Each and every day I always ask my daughter how her day was and especially ask, “what was your favorite part of the day?”. This allows you to not only know what’s going on, but allows them to focus on the positive and gather excitement to do it all over again. Make their happiest part of school, a huge deal. Likewise, if they have apprehension or a bad experience, don’t ever brush it off. Acknowledge it and while you may not be able to solve every issue, sometimes empathy and them knowing that they aren’t alone when it comes to bad days, will help.

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25 Comments

  1. Thank you so much! My son starts Kindergarten and he is so nervous since he didn’t go to preschool like some of his friends. Going to try some of your tips, wish us luck!

  2. Oh yes! Suck it up Mama was my biggest hurdle when my babies marched off to school. I threw on the sunglasses to hide my stress (tears)! It helped!
    Hugs to you and best of luck:)

    1. Awe – sounds like me when my oldest started Kindergarten. She took the bus, which I think made it much worse for me. Yet, I just went back inside the house and cried, so no witnesses!

  3. I live in a small rural area so preschool isn’t available here. When my son starts school it will be straight into kindergartner. But I’ll be sure to use some of these tips for then. We already talk about school and going on the bus. I hope he will be excited for it when the time comes!!

  4. So wonderful day. My oldest took the bus for the first time of her life this morning. She was so proud ! I tried to talk to her about school as often and as positive as i can. She was up at 5h15 this morning with the biggest smile i’ve ever seen. Just think in my head when she climb in the bus; Open your wings little bird and jump in life…. And start to cry, hiding myself of my youngest lol!

    1. Awe – that is so sweet! What a proud moment for you and her! How’s it feel to set the alarm again though? That’s what I’m dreading!! 🙂

  5. It’s too bad your twins had a bad first experience with nursery school. Having seen the new preschool and talking about things there before they go sounds like it will help them have positive expectations about what will happen this time. I hope it goes well.

    1. It’s working so far Cheryl. And ya, it was a mess, I thought we were doomed from school again. Really, they talked negatively about it for many months, yet I think they are realizing it will be different this year. They actually start tomorrow, fingers crossed this is a much better experience!

  6. Good tips! My 4 year old starts JK next week and I’ve been nervous about it. We have made the walk to the school, played in the playground, talked a lot about it, practiced using his lunch bag and containers…. Now we’re ready to see how it goes!

    1. Kids get so stuck in routine, don’t they? I’m sure all those things helped a ton, good luck to you both!

  7. My son is entering JK but he was in daycare then a montessori program but I took him out due to financial reasons. I hope he can adjust and I hope I can adjust to not having him at home. He will have his sisters’ previous Grade 2 teacher though so I think he should be fine.

    1. Yes, Montessori is expensive. Actually, my oldest did 2 months of it way back when. Only 2 months b/c it didn’t work with my work schedule at the time. Yet, we found another {way cheaper} and she loved it and learned lots.

      In a lot of ways they bounce back and adapt their routine so easily, it’s nice when they can get the same teachers. Makes the transition easier.

    1. That helps! My oldest took the bus to Kindergarten, she loved being with all the older neighborhood kids.

  8. My son is totally looking forward to JK, I’m trying to brace myself (with kleenex in hand!) for point #5!!!

  9. I remember when my twin granddaughters started school, they are already in 6th grade. Time flies.

  10. This is really great information. My little guy is three and will be starting JK September 2013. Thanks for the post.

  11. Love it!! I have twins – they are mirror-image twin boys. They are god’s gift to me! I was very excited to about my boys going to school and I can remember saying to friends, “I can’t wait for them to go to school.” When the day finally arrived…, I went home, fell on the floor and cried my eyes out and I did this for days! Ha ha ha I love your tips, I agree with everyone of them. 🙂

    1. Awe! I can see this being me – 100%!
      I cannot wait, yet I know part of me will be just crushed!

  12. Love that photo of the twins holding hands! I have captured some lovely candid shots of my twin neices showing their bond too. Once the girls went to school the big decision was whether to keep them together or place in separate classes…

  13. I thought when I sent my girls ipoff they would be lost without me. Boy was I wrong, they loved going to school. Proud and sad at the same time.

  14. They are too cute holding hands. It is nice that they have each other for when they head off to preschool. 🙂

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