4 Tips to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Preschool
Written by Guest Contributor Kaitlan Elias
The first day of a new school is difficult for kids of any age. What is even more
challenging is switching to a new school after already getting settled in a
previous one. About one in four students transfer to a new school during a
school year, and Patrick Gill from Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban
Research in Texas states that this transition confuses most kids. Gill explains
that it’s tough for young kids to forge new relationships with classmates,
teachers, and school staff, which is why parents must help with the change.
For a toddler switching to a new pre-school, it may not be as daunting as it
would be for an older child. Yet that doesn’t mean it can’t be a challenging and
stressful situation, especially if the change has come late in the school year.
If your toddler is going to a new pre-school, you can give them the push they
need by preparing them for the change through these tips:
Talk about the changes they can look forward to
Communication is the key, even when solving a problem with kids. By talking
to them properly, they can internalize the changes and get used to the idea of
going to a new school.
In fact, our article on ‘Preparing for the First Day of Preschool’ recommends
that you talk about the new preschool as if it were Disneyland. You can show
them the amazing things they will get to experience, such as the playground,
to make the new preschool seem like an exciting place to visit. Try this at least
a month before the change to help them slowly get used to the idea.
Acknowledge and manage your kid’s emotions
Communication is a two-way street. During your discussions about the new
school, it’s crucial to note any signs of discomfort and fear from your little one.
Kids who used to homeschool or had a negative experience in their previous
pre-school, may become agitated once the topic of school comes up. Going
back to school isn’t easy for every kid, which is why researchers from Florida
International University and California State University recommend listening
carefully to your toddler’s worries about their new preschool. You can even
ask them to draw their thoughts and concerns to learn how you can properly
reassure them regarding this transition.
Communicate openly with the preschool staff
Each child is different. As such, you may find that your little one may need
more TLC than their older siblings or peers.
In this case, you’ll need to coordinate with the preschool staff regarding their
classroom routines, rules, and care strategies for new kids. Preschool and
childcare center directors are active in communicating with families,
and Maryville University highlights that those who chose a pre-school
career will be fully capable and trained in supporting you and your child
through this transition. Preschool directors have strong communication and
emotional intelligence skills that will be advantageous as they collaborate with
you in making your child feel at ease in their new classroom.
Practice their new routine before the start of school
Once you have a better understanding of the preschool’s program, you can
prepare your child by practicing their new routine beforehand. This will help
them get accustomed to the changes, making the transition easier.
A Green Child Magazine guide to back-to-school routines recommends that
you start by asking your child about the hardest and most important tasks in
their morning, so that you know how you can assist them. If they’re having a
tough time with the entire process, you can practice the routine before the
school year starts. This way it won’t be such a shock to the system during the
first couple of days.
Your child will enter a new environment, which is why they may be
experiencing various emotions about this change. Through your efforts and
reassurance, your toddler will find the strength to face this new chapter in their
Kaitlan Elias is a hands-on mom and freelance writer. She loves sharing her knowledge and experiences as a mother, which is why she decided to become a lifestyle and mommy blogger. In her free time she can be found walking with her two golden retrievers.