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Sending your child to pre-K for the first time is a big step for both you and your child. There is likely some apprehension as you worry about how to handle things like separation anxiety or perhaps even social struggles. Fortunately, there are things you can do during the summer months to help prepare your child for pre-K and make every single day from the first to the last a wonderful experience.
Pre-K typically occurs in morning or afternoon sessions, so if you can find out which of these your child will be in, you will have a great opportunity to start getting into your routine long before the school year starts. Talk to your child about your routine and try to do things the same way each day for at least a few weeks leading up to his or her first day. This way, when it’s truly time to get ready for school, the routine is nothing new for your child and will not cause any undue apprehension.
If you have the opportunity to introduce your child to his or her new pre-K teacher ahead of time, it’s a good idea to do so. Reducing apprehension is all about familiarizing your child with people, places, and things he or she will likely encounter. His or her teacher will be an important part of the day, so if that individual is no longer a stranger on the first day of pre-K, there’s a good chance that things will flow much more smoothly for everyone involved.
One of the best possible things you can start doing early on is talking about the excitement and joy of going to school early on. Be positive at all times about the things that will happen during the school day, talk about the friends your child will make, and discuss things like field trips or opportunities to play outside when the weather cooperates. All of these things will appeal to your little one and help him or her grow excited about school rather than apprehensive.
One of the biggest changes to a child’s routine when moving from a home setting into pre-K is the fact that there are lots of other kids at school. Even if your child’s class is relatively small, the number of kids in the entire school can be overwhelming, especially to very young children. One of the best ways to deal with this head-on involves scheduling large-scale playdates with your friends or with the parents of other kids who will be attending pre-K with your child. This can help your child learn basic social skills and perhaps even meet a few classmates to help him or her feel more secure on the first day.
Pre-K can be terrifying for both children and parents alike, but it doesn’t have to be. Remind yourself that it’s a positive learning environment and use the tips here to help prepare your child for the adventures to come. If you can help the school environment feel more familiar to your child, the transition will be a seamless one, and your child’s introduction to the education years will serve him or her well for a lifetime.