How to Prepare Your Tot for Preschool

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Family

(and What to Look for When Choosing) 

Preschool is a big step for both parents and kids. Preschool isn’t mandatory by any means, but many families choose to enroll their 3-year-olds for many awesome benefits. It’s a great way for kids to make friends and give parents a break or accommodate their work schedules. Whether you’re ready to enroll your kiddo, looking to switch it up, or do a home preschool, these tips will get your tot (and you!) ready for the transition. 

Focus on the Schedule 

The biggest change for kids going to preschool is the schedule. New school means a different schedule to follow, and that disruption of routine can throw anyone off. Understand that the first week (or two) could be rough for your little people, and that’s okay.  

Try to prepare them before they start. This can include practicing a wake-up schedule before the beginning of the school year. If they need to wake up at 7 a.m. for school, start waking up at 7 a.m. the week before. This will help them adjust to the change while still in the comfort of home. 

Practice Being Away From Parents 

Being away from the biggest people in your life is really scary, so practice this. Set up play dates with friends and other adults your child knows and trusts. Invite grandparents to take them out on adventure days so they can get used to listening to other adults. Making this a positive experience will go a long way in building up trust for preschool.  

Focus On Social Skills 

Preschool is less about learning academic skills, so don’t stress if your kids get their ABC’s a little mixed up (or don’t know them at all!). Kids will learn lots of things, including great social skills, so try to prepare them and support them as they learn. Sharing with others, not hitting other kids, and being able to follow instructions are all very important and can be a focus of your preparation. No kid is going to learn this overnight (we know some adults that are still learning!), so do your best for your family. 

Get Potty Trained 

Toilet training can be a beast of a project, so our best wishes to anyone going through this, or getting ready to! But there’s no denying that preschool is easier when your kids are potty trained (and most schools require it). Daycares are often better equipped for bathroom accidents than preschools since they have kids of all ages, so work on potty training before preschool if you can. Here’s an article with one potty training method to help you get started!

Be Connected at Home 

Preschool is a lot for a 3 or 4-year-old to take on. They’ll probably come home sleepy, hungry, and even a little cranky. Make sure the time you’re together is truly connective. We know you’re just as tired, but making time to play without distraction or watching a movie together will be restorative for both of you. 

Choosing a Preschool 

Choosing a preschool is almost as hard as getting ready for it, so give yourself plenty of time to make the right decision. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a school and need to wait a year to be admitted. Look at the options in your area and shop around. Treat your tours like an interview and ask questions that are important to you.  

Here are a few to get you started: 

  • What curriculum do you teach? 
  • How do you handle misbehavior? 
  • What is your student to teacher ratio? 
  • What is the schedule of the day? 
  • Do children need to be potty trained? 

While touring, observe students, teachers, and classes (if allowed). Are the kids and teachers happy? Is the facility clean? These are all important things that indicate how well a school is run. If you can, talk to parents whose children attend the school and ask their opinion. The more thorough you are now, the less you’ll have to worry about later. 

Just like all transitions in life, preschool is fun and exciting, but can be scary … for kids and parents. By preparing early, and having goals to work toward, you will be more likely to have a smooth transition into the next phase of childhood! 

Choosing a local preschool is a great way to support your community. Here are four more ways!