Tips for Transitioning Your Baby Into Child Care

Prepping For Preschool? Help Your Child Succeed By Focusing On These Key Areas!

by Gene Jimenez

Going off to preschool is a big step in your child's development. More than just fun, a high quality preschool program can help strengthen their self-confidence, enhance their vocabulary and improve their social, verbal and motor skills.

Like any new activity, however, children respond best and benefit most from preschool when their parents have helped to prepare them for the experience. If your child is about to take the exciting step up to preschool, working with them in the following areas beforehand can help your child get the most from the experience.

Developing a Consistent Schedule

New parents learn quickly that regular periods of restful sleep are important to help keep infants from becoming irritable or overly emotional. Even after infancy, the establishment of regular rest patterns is a key part of helping your children feel their best.

To help your child acclimate to the set schedule of preschool, ask your provider for information about the daily start and end times of their program, as well as information about any rest and snack times during the day. Then, a few months before the start of preschool, institute a set schedule at home for bedtime, wake up time, naps and snacks that closely mirrors what your child will experience during an average preschool day.

Bolstering Independence

Teaching your child to welcome and develop a healthy, independent personality starts with helping them to become more accustomed to taking actions on their own. As a parent, you can help your child accomplish this by using both household tasks and fun activities to give them a feeling of pride in what they can achieve.

Incorporating some of the following simple tasks and activities into your child's daily schedule will help them become more self-confident and mature.

  • Simple daily household cooking or cleaning tasks, such as setting the table, tearing lettuce, feeding a pet, folding towels and washcloths and picking up toys or belongings
  • Fun activities, such as climbing the ladder to the slide at the park, swimming lessons, reeling in a fish, camping, walking a well-behaved pet on a leash in a safe area or picking berries or produce from the backyard garden
  • Group activities, such as partnering with other parents and spending some time at the gym or playground where the kids can enjoy playing games that will help them become more self-confident

If your child is still in diapers, sleeping in a crib or sleeping with you, toilet training and slowly transitioning them into a regular bed and a room of their own before preschool starts are also very important steps to help bolster their independence.

Conquering Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be very difficult for children who are just starting preschool, especially if they have previously been at home with a parent instead of being in daycare. A good way to help children feel less anxious about being separated from you is to schedule a few activities for your child to enjoy on their own.

Start with activities such as a library story time or a neighborhood playgroup, where your child can enjoy hearing the story or playing, while still knowing that you are just across the room. As they become more comfortable, begin scheduling activities where you do not stay with them, such as an occasional day with a babysitter or grandparent. It usually only takes a few solo activities for them to begin to look forward to the outing and feel confident that you will be back to get them at the promised time.

While most preschools have no real requirements for children to attend, other than being toilet trained, helping your child to prepare for preschool will ensure that it is a pleasant learning experience for your entire family. For even more great ideas, take some time to talk with your local preschool providers like Kid's Country Child Care & Learning Center, tour the facilities and speak to parents who already have children in preschool programs about your concerns.