The children who are most ready often have parents who do these 5 things:
If I was only allowed to give one piece of advice to parents it would be, “Read to your child.” Read every day. Have books in every room, in your purse, and in the car. Read favorite books so often that you and your child have them memorized. Visit the library often. Need more convincing? Look at this graphic about children who have spent time in their parents’ laps reading.
Developing your child’s oral language skills is a crucial part of preparing her for preschool. Turn off the movie in the car and engage your child in a discussion about the world around her. Ask questions. Talk about nature, and colors, and letters, and feelings. Put down your phone and listen when your child talks to you. Encourage your child to make eye contact and greet others with a “Hello” and a “Good Bye.” Check out this article for more ideas on how to foster oral language development at home.
Spend time every day on the floor playing with your child. Encourage pretend play and role playing. Get messy! Laugh and have fun together. Offer your child time to play by herself, giving her the opportunity to decide what to do. Read these 10 things that every parent should know about play.
Children who are able to take care of some of their personal needs do better at the beginning of preschool than children who rely on adults for everything. Make sure your child has shoes that she can put on herself. Allow extra time before you need to leave the house each day so that your child can put on her own shoes. Support your child in taking care of her own bathroom needs. If she asks help with her pants, or with wiping, try talking her through it rather than doing it all for her. Teach her to wash her own hands and flush the toilet. It’s not glamorous, but these are important skills in preschool! Here’s a very good list of ways to support self-help.
Give your child time away from you. Practice separating and giving your child a little bit of space. If you anticipate separation anxiety, try some of these helpful hints before the big day.
Now, give yourself a big pat on the back! Sending your child to preschool can be emotional and exciting. It’s such a fun and positive experience, and the beginning of many years of school to come. Enjoy.