Preparing Your Toddler for School

There are inevitabilities when it comes to being a parent, and one is sending your child off to school for the very first time. For many kids, their first experience with school is actually play-school, where the structure is relaxed and most of the learning centers on how to share with others.

When it’s time to enter first grade, many children feel a little wary about the prospect of being away from home for so long each day. They also wonder about the teacher, the classroom and what will be expected of them. There are a few things a parent can do to help ease the transition from being a part-time pre-school attendee into being a full-time first grader.

Many elementary schools have programs in the spring that allow for families of future first graders to visit. These are typically informal sessions that are often held during the day, although many schools recognize the convenience of an evening session, and will accommodate this too. The prospective student and their parents can visit the school to get a sense of what is in store for them. This is a wonderful opportunity for the child to not only see the inside of the building, but to experience meeting a teacher or two and also, in some cases, touring the facility.

As the day approaches and summer starts to turn to fall, parents can begin to introduce the idea of a structured bedtime and some pretend schoolwork each day. This may include learning the alphabet, doing some simple math equations and practicing reading. When a parent works on basic learning skills with their child it can help the youngster feel more confident once they are in a classroom environment.

If part of the new routine involves staying at school for lunch, an adjustment may need to be made here too. A great approach to help the child feel comfortable with the idea of a bagged lunch, is to have a school lunch day at home before the beginning of September. In addition to preparing a bagged lunch for the child, siblings can participate too as can parents.

Once school does begin it’s a good idea for parents to set aside a few moments each night to talk about the child’s day. This way if any problems do develop, the parent will know about them right away.