Over the weekend, we went to our very first school open house. Our oldest is four, and we have another who is almost three. It’s time for preschool already?! I wasn’t ready for this! As a first time “school” mom, I wanted to share some tips for preparing your child for preschool.
That first experience with your children going away to school, even if it is only half time and for a few hours a day, is rough! It is so much harder than I expected.
I was actually homeschooled all the way through 4th grade, and then homeschooled again in 5th grade. I didn’t really get that separation from my mom and I never understood the concept of that first time they would go away to school. Honestly, I had thought about homeschooling my children for a long time, and still plan on it when they get a little older. For now, the social interaction and the activities to keep their little minds working is great for this mama of four!
Hopefully, these tips will help you ease into preparing your child for preschool, or whatever age of school that they are in.
7 Tips for Preparing Your Child For Preschool
- Make sure your kids are ready. Honestly, I am still up in the air about sending out (almost) 3-year-old to 3’s preschool during the day. Even though it’s only a few days a week, I struggle with the back and forth of whether or not she is ready for “big kids class”, as she likes to call it. She is smart, and has always been around older kids, and I know it would be great for her. I feel like, first and foremost, we never want to push our children into such a new thing if they are not ready for it.
- Don’t settle. There are so many different preschools out there. From pre-k at a normal school, to preschool at a Montessori school, to combined daycares and schools, the options are vast. Make sure to check out as many as you want. They are your kids, after all. You don’t have to settle for the first option that comes to you. Not to mention, the tuition differences in various schools are crazy! You might pay half of what you would pay at one school, for the same thing in another area. It all depends, so do your research. Visit the ones you like, and decide from there.
- Talk to your kids. Find out if what their fears are about school, figure out how you can try to help ease those fears. Talk to them about what they are most looking forward to! Working through all of the emotions is important to get your children mentally prepared for their school experience. It will really help them to associate school with a safe and fun space. Here is a great article on how to get your kids talking, if they aren’t big in that area yet.
- Take your kids shopping. School supplies are one of the best parts of school when you’re young, at least from what I remember;) Take your kids to pick out a few of the necessities that they will need for their classroom, to keep them involved with this new adventure they are about to go on.
- Work on self help skills. Your little one will be on their own without you when their at school. Work through the activities that they need to know how to do on their own, so that they don’t always need to ask the teacher for help. They might be busy helping other students at times, and it’s important that your child is confident in the skills to help themselves.
- Stick with a schedule. School hours can throw a wrench into your schedule, but don’t throw schedules completely out the window because of that! Bed times, morning routines, and schedules on non-school days are going to important to that your child doesn’t get too overwhelmed or worn out with all of the time and activity changes to their day.
- Buy all the wine. Seriously. Whatever you need to do to drown in the fact that your babies are growing up so fast, do it! There will be no judgment from me. I’ll just be here, in a corner, with my bottle of wine watching my little ones turn not-so-little.
We found a really amazing preschool here in the Scottsdale, AZ area called WhizKidz and I am super thankful that we did. It’s a great school/daycare combination. If you live in the Phoenix area, I highly suggest checking it out!
What are your tips for preparing your child for preschool or other levels of school?
*Cheers to our not so little ones heading off to school for the first time*
Madeline is starting her 2nd year of preschool (4&5yolds). I,too,hesitated last year, but decided it would be good for her. She is a super shy little girl, barely spoke to her teacher and classmates for 3/4 of the year! But she has an amazingly patient teacher who keeps me updated with texts like “SHE SPOKE VOLUNTARILY AT SHARE TIME!!!” Yes, she did learn things,but for us, her socialization was the most important decision in starting her last year. This year she can’t wait to go! Huge change ? So my advice for you as you tearfully drop your littles off for that first day, just relax and know that, regardless of whether you think they’re ready or not, they’re going to have a blast!! They’ll come home so excited, ready to tell you about the cool toy that’s there, or the big box of crayons! Enjoy and relish their enthusiasm, they honestly grow up too fast ❤
Thank you mama!!! I appreciate those supportive words. 🙂
HAHA!!! You should have made the last tip FIRST! LOL
My baby will go to pre-k next year and I am actually happy he will be one of the oldest kids (he turns 4 in Oct)..he missed the cut off. He has been in daycare since he was 4 months old so it should be a fairly easy transition. He is pretty shy in crowds and clings to my leg still when I drop him off, hopefully he will grow out of that before then (even though I love it).
Thanks for the tips!!!! <3
Hahah right? I was trying to end it on a positive note;)
Omg, hahaha! I’m dying over tip no. 7! I was feeling all melancholy thinking about what you must be going through preparing to send your littles and then thinking about doing it myself in a year or two. So I was totally not expecting that last one. Way to keep things in perspective.
You know me, always thinking on the “this is real motherhood” side of things:)
Great tips! I’m a homeschooler now but my oldest attended preschool when he was 3 and 4. Your tips are right on the button! Walking through the emotions is a biggie. It’s such a new experience for them and talking it through ahead of time is a wonderful tip as well as a set schedule :-).
That’s awesome! We are really pushing for homeschooling in the older years.
Great tips, Joanna. I especially like the idea of taking the kids out shopping to help them feel prepared.
Great Post!!! My oldest went in her first day last year, and didn’t cry one tear. No looking for mommy, no caring that I was leaving. I cried a little that day. It was rough. I’m homeschooling them now, and it’s been going pretty good, but I got to experience both the first day of her leaving for school and now a first day of homeschool. I have to say I’m glad I had the experience of her going to preschool for a while. Although it is definitely a reminder that the littles aren’t so little anymore.
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Right? I feel like they should be the ones crying, not us! 😉 They grow up so fast.
Great tips! I’m sending the twins this year to preschool,and I really can’t believe it. I know I’m going to be crying, and I better get at least 2 bottle of wine.
School makes us as moms as mess!
Love these ideas! I have a two year old and I know preschool will be here before we know it!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing! I’ll be sharing your article with my readers as well. ?
Thank you so much!
Tip 7 is the best. My little guy has a couple years before he starts preschool, but I feel like I need a drink just thinking about it. Good luck mama!
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Right?! It’s a must;)
Thank you so much for sharing these! I’ve been on the fence about putting my daughter in and you have given me some thoughts to think on. 🙂
Yes it is such a big transition! I imagine once a little one is older it must be scary to be away from home when they are so used to being there. I remember when my son started kindergarten he was so confused since he said some kids in his class were crying and talking about how they had never been to school. Since he had always been in daycare (aka: “school”) he thought ALL kids did that, even though he knew some mommies worked outside the home while other mommies work INSIDE the home. I just never thought to talk to him about that!!
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Sad!!! I will have to talk to my daughter about so much I feel like…
These are great tips! I’ve contemplated how early is too early for my toddler as well! Thanks for sharing!
What a fun milestone for your daughter! Pre school is going to be fun, exciting and all that and more for her! You however will need wine the first few weeks so I am glad that you are well prepared!
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I am going to stock up!
my son will be in his second year of preschool this year and we got lucky. they’re great and we practiced before with a drop off babysitting service at my gym. i think the hardest part if them trusting you’ll come back and we had practiced that for a long time in the gym daycare.
I am trying hard to adjust:)
Love these tips. As a seasoned, mom of 5 older children, I am starting all over again with our youngest (adopted) sweetie…She started Mom’s Morning Out for 3yo’s today and was so excited!! Can’t wait to hear all about her day!! I also homeschool our children and with only 2 left to finish …having our youngest in a program even if it’s only 1 day for a few hours is very helpful. Have to definitely purchase more wine..they grow too quick 🙂
I know that they will have a lot of fun. It’s me that’s having the issue haha.
We have started our schedule this week and so far so good. We don’t start school until the 8/29 but I wanted to make sure we had a good routine in places so that we can have a smooth start to the new school year.
Ahhh ALL THE WINE! 😉 Tip #7 is awesome. My kids are now going into 4th and 7th grade but I still remember so clearly their first days at preschool. One kid was definitely more ready emotionally than the other. All of the milestones are so bittersweet! Soak up these moments, mama! We’re all in the corner with you with our own bottle of vino. Cheers!
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