Moving from preschool to a Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten class is a big deal and chances are that you are as worried about it as much (or more) as your little one is. It is understandable that some children may become clingier in the days leading up to the new classroom or for the first few weeks while they are settling into this new experience. It’s important that you demonstrate patience and love during this time as well as positivity and excitement. If you are outwardly appearing sad or worried, your child will most likely take their emotional cue from you and react in the same manner.
See our tips below to help your child make a smooth transition to their new learning environment:
Getting Ready for Pre-K
Be sure to attend open-houses, visitor’s days, or family socials scheduled for your child’s new class.
Select a variety of interesting books that emphasize the fun and new experiences children have at Pre-K to read aloud to your child in the weeks prior to their first day.
Share stories of when you or your child’s siblings were in Pre-K.
Talk to your child about what their day at Pre-K will be like. (Be sure to ask ahead for a schedule so that you can tell your child about all of the activities.)
Have your child start their new bedtime and wake-up routine a week or two before school begins so that they can get used to the change and you have time to adjust it as needed.
Let your child help you choose a new backpack and their first day of school clothes.
Listen to your child when they talk about Pre-K. Do they seem happy or scared? If your child regresses in their potty training or shows aggression or separation anxiety, it’s okay. It’s only temporary. Listen to their worries and be understanding.
Find time to play “First day at Pre-K” with your child and their babies. Act out how you hope her first day will be, including kissing mommy or daddy good-bye and then playing with their new friends.
Make sure that you fill out all of the necessary forms including any medical concerns or food allergies, emergency contacts, and info about your child.
When the BIG DAY Arrives
Wake up early enough so that your child isn’t rushed in getting dressed or eating breakfast.
Share breakfast with your child and use the time to talk about what they should expect (how you will drop them off, what will happen next, if they will take a nap, and who will pick them up).
Keep your morning conversation positive and exciting.
Help your child feel more comfortable by letting them take a special stuffed animal, blanket or family photo with them to school.
Don’t leave your child at school without saying goodbye. Plan to only stay for 15-20 minutes. That should be long enough to explore the classroom and make your child comfortable.