Starting Pre-School is a big step both for the child and parent. You can help prepare your child in a number of ways:
- Encouraging your child to be independent in small ways, for example tidying up after play, helping to set the table, opening their own lunch box, putting on clothes and shoes, eating independently.
- Helping socialize with a variety of people so that they feel confident with other adults and children. A mother toddler group is good for this.
- Remember to buy items that allow the child to do it for themselves and succeed. For example, buy elasticized pants and belts, child friendly lunch boxes, velcro fastening shoes.
- Encourage a routine at home, children feel more secure when they have a predictable routine.
- Make sure your child gets enough rest; a regular nap and bed time helps them when they get tired after a hard day playing at pre-school.
- Encourage a healthy diet with enough fresh fruit and vegetables, this helps them recover from colds.
Settling your child into Pre-School
Starting Pre-School is exciting for most children but can also be an anxious time if they do not know what to expect. Parents can help by visiting the pre-school together as a family before leaving the child.
Talking about starting Pre-School and what kind of activities they will enjoy. Take a photo of a child playing during their visit to remind them when they get home.
On your child's first day do not rush them, make it a relaxed enjoyable experience. Explain that you will come back to pick them up soon and leave as soon as your child has started an activity.
Call the school after one hour to check how your child is doing. The separation can initially upset them but this is normal, as long as they are not distressed for a long period they will be fine. As soon as a routine is established the child knows that you will always return. This may take about six sessions depending on the child's personality. If they become too upset we will always call you to collect them. When you arrive you are welcome to stay and play with your child for a short while. This will help your child settle in quickly.