It’s that time of year again! You’ve had a lot of fun hanging with your little ones this summer, but pretty soon they will be back to school with their best friends and favorite teachers.
But as you know, many kids have a hard time transitioning from summer vacation to school days away from the family. So if your child is among the 75% of children in the United States who participate in a preschool program, you may need some back to school tips to help you and your little one have an easier time changing gears.
Preschool Teachers Share Back to School Tips for Parents of Preschoolers
- Start a routine
Summer schedules can be all over the place, and that’s okay! They wake up late; they eat when they’re hungry. Who cares? It’s vacation! School days, however, will require early wake up times and set meal times, so it is best to establish a routine before the first day. Two to four weeks before school begins, start easing preschoolers into their new routine to get their little bodies used to the altered eating and sleeping schedules. If you don’t, you may end up with one cranky kid on the first day of school.
- Get the right gear
There are a ton of super cute and fun school supplies out there. Have a blast picking out a backpack, a set of sheets for naptime, and whatever else is on the list you may have received from the school. If your little one is a big fan of the Avengers, for instance, pick up a cool backpack or pillowcase featuring the Hulk. Supplying your child with school gear they can enjoy will help get them excited about heading back to the classroom.
You may have also received a list of items not to bring to school. Make sure you read the list thoroughly and adhere to any and all classroom rules.
- Meet the teacher
Of all the back to school tips, this is one of the most important. Even if your child has been attending preschool for years, it is still essential to check out the new classroom and meet the new teacher ahead of time since change can be hard for kids to accept. If your school offers a preschool orientation day, check it out; you could even bring the whole family along. Familiarizing themselves with the space and the teachers ahead of time goes a long way towards easing start-of-the-year anxieties.
- Prepare for separation anxiety
You’ve spent the whole summer together, and now it’s time to go your separate ways to work and school. Of course, it’s only for a few hours a day, but for a preschooler, this can seem like a lifetime. Separation anxiety is totally normal and even expected in young children — and even for their parents! To make things easier on both of you, talk to your little one ahead of time. Let them know that you will be back to pick them up in just a few hours and remind them of all the fun they’re going to have with their friends and teachers.
- Get yourself ready as well
For worriers, sending your kids back to preschool can be a stressful day. Will they make friends? What if they get sick? Parents who are dreading the time apart from their kids should prepare so they can feel better about back-to-school time, too.
If you know any other children enrolled in your child’s preschool, reach out to their parents before school starts. If possible, arrange a playdate. Not only will this give you another parent to speak with, but it will give you peace of mind knowing your son or daughter already has a friend at preschool.
- Read books about the first day of school
If you don’t already own books about school, order some online or stop by the local library. When you read stories about the first day of school aloud to your preschooler, you will prepare them mentally for the big day. Not only will this help ease the transition back into school, but many of these books address specific fears kids have about the classroom. Plus, reading to your kids is always a good idea.
Another Tip for Parents of Preschoolers with Separation Anxiety
Finally, it’s always helpful to remind yourself just how much your child will benefit from his or her time in preschool! After all, there’s a reason we call our preschool in Bergen County, New Jersey, the Learn and Grow Academy.
Remember that the best preprimary programs are groups or classes that are organized to provide high quality educational experiences for children. They can include kindergarten, preschool, and nursery school programs. From 1990 to 2013, the percentage of three- to five-year-olds enrolled in preprimary programs increased from 59 to 65%, demonstrating that the academic preschool curriculum is more important than ever for grade school readiness. In fact, 60% of at-risk children were found to be less likely to go to college if they did not receive a quality preschool education.
What other back to school tips do you have for parents of preschoolers? Feel free to share your own preschool back to school tips and suggestions with us!