Is My Child Ready for Preschool?
Experts agree that preschool helps kids socialize, begin to share, and interact with other children and adults.
Getting Prepped for Preschool continued...
Another tip: "Don't just get everything ready yourself," Hays says. "Let
your child pick and pack their backpack and choose a special snack. Invite the
child to help because this helps build positive anticipation and makes
preschool more of an adventure and something to look forward to."
You can help them get ready to learn too. "Point out letters and numbers on
streets and buildings, and shapes and colors in architecture. The more you talk
to your child and the more you read to your child, the more vocabulary they are
building," says Hays.
Helping your child become self-sufficient is another important step.
"Encourage this by allowing your child to brush their hair, put on their own
pants, button some buttons and zip some zippers," Hays suggests. "It's good for
a child to have that sense of accomplishment, and this will translate into
other areas, including using the potty. Self-confidence is the most important
thing a kid can go to preschool with. And when they know how to do things by
themselves, they will feel accomplished and capable and comfortable going into
this big new world."
Saltz agrees. "It is beneficial if can they can manage themselves in terms
of eating, toileting, and activities of daily living," she says. "Some parents,
in a totally well-meaning way, may keep doing everything for the child. Then
they send them to school where it's embarrassing because every other kid is
zipping, buttoning, and snapping -- while your kid is just waiting for the
Easing Separation Anxiety
On that first day, parents can -- and should -- try to help curb separation
anxiety even before it starts, so they can maximize the benefits of preschool
for their children.
"Help your child know how to say goodbye," Hays says. "This is easier to do
when your child understands that there will be a hello -- and when that will
be. Talk about it in advance, and on the way to school, and just as you are
about to make a departure."
Then, before you leave, make sure your child is engaged in something or
caught up in something in the classroom, Hays says. Say a firm goodbye and
leave quickly. Her cardinal rule for anxious parents: "Don't linger."