Preparing Your Child for Preschool

Starting preschool is a big step for your child. Helping them grow into their new independence and get excited about school can be challenging for parents, but Jenifer Wana, author of How to Choose the Best School for Your Child, has some great advice for easing the transition – both for you and your child.

  • Talk about the transition.

“Talking about preschool ahead of time helps your child to get used to the idea of going to school and to look forward to it,” says Wana. “He'll definitely pick up on your attitude, so don't let him see that you're feeling anxious or sad. Be positive when you're talking about school, and your child will be positive, too.”

  • Visit the school ahead of time.

A few weeks before the first day, familiarize your child with the school by walking them around the grounds if possible. Spend a few minutes letting them play on the school playground while talking about how much fun they're going to have.

  • Arrange a play date with a classmate.

“Many preschools have orientations or open houses for parents, teachers, and kids to get to know one another,” says Wana. “Some schools provide a class directory with names and contact information. Set up a few play dates so your child can get to know some classmates and can walk in on the first day already knowing a few friends.”

  • Count down to the “day.”

Post a fun wall calendar and draw a big circle around the first day of school, and have your child place a sticker on each passing day.

  • Mark the occasion with a gift.

Consider giving your child something special that commemorates this important day. It could be a new backpack with their name embroidered on it or a special book, such as Dr. Seuss' Oh the Places You'll Go.