USE PRETEND PLAY TO EXPLORE
THE IDEA OF PRESCHOOL
Take turns being the parent, child, and teacher. Act out common daily routines,
such as saying good-bye to mommy and/or daddy, taking off your coat, singing songs,
reading stories, having circle time, playing outside, and taking naps. Reassure your
child that preschool is a good place where he/she will have fun and learn. Answer his/her questions patiently. This helps children feel more in control which reduces their anxiety.
READ BOOKS ABOUT
There are many books about going to preschool available from the public library in your area.
Choose several to share with your child over the summer before school starts.
Talk about the story and how the characters are feeling. Ask how your child is feeling.
MAKE A GAME OUT OF
PRACTICING SELF-HELP SKILLS
These skills include unzipping his/her coat, hanging his/her coat on a hook, putting on his/her backpack, fastening his/her shoes.
For example, you might want to have a “race” with your child to see how quickly he/she can put on his/her shoes.
When you play school together, you can give your child the chance to practice taking off his/her coat, zipping his/her backpack closed, and sitting “criss-cross applesauce."
DURING THE 2 WEEKS BEFORE
Label all items—backpack, jacket, shoes, blanket, teddy bear, etc.—with your child’s name.
Talk to your child about the morning and afternoon routine so that he/she understands that
he/she will be safe, okay, and cared for.
Start using your child’s “school bedtime.” Help your child get into a preschool schedule by keeping to his/her school bedtime, beginning about 2 weeks before school starts.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Answer any last-minute questions from your child.
Make sure that your child goes to bed on time.
Pick a bedtime that gives your child a good night’s rest before the first day.
Keep the bedtime routine soothing and relaxing.
Don’t focus too much (or at all!) on the first day of school unless he/she wants to.
THE FIRST DAY
Wake up early enough so that you and your child don’t have to rush to get to preschool.
Make breakfast for your child and, if possible, sit down to eat together—or at least talk with him/her as he/she eats and you get ready.
Review the day’s routine (what preschool will be like, how your child will get to school/come home).
Let your child choose a special stuffed animal or blanket to bring to school with him/her. These “loveys” can help children make the transition from home to school, and can also make nap time easier, too.