8 ways to prepare your tot for preschool

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Eight tips for preparing for preschool

1. Getting a feel for the school ahead of time can be critical to your preschooler's adjustment.
"The number one thing is to visit the preschool with your child," Berusch says. "That way the preschool is not such a strange place when the child begins." He also encourages child-teacher interactions during this visit, in addition to reminding your child the teacher's names in the week prior to preschool.

2. Adjust their schedule at least a week before school begins.
An earlier bedtime and a healthier breakfast are both important.

3. Do not carry your child into school.
Your preschooler can sense your anxiety or apprehension. "Hold their hand instead," Dunleavy suggests.

4. A loving but firm position by mom and dad with regard to school is needed to help children overcome anxiety.
Focus on the good things, Berusch says, like playing, art and meeting new friends.

5. Choose your words carefully, since preschoolers are very literal.
Do not say things such as "don't worry mommy will be back," Dunleavy warns. They may not have been "worried" until you said the word "worry!"

6. Remain calm, positive and reassuring.
Don't make a big deal about saying goodbye – this often makes the situation feel out of control and negative. Children always calm down quicker with a "quick kiss and goodbye," Berusche says. He also thinks it's important to let your child know when you're picking him up. Since most preschoolers can't tell time, he suggests using something they can understand, like "before lunch" or "after nap."

7. If your child really struggled at drop off, call the school and ask a staff member to check in on your child.
"There are many pleasant distractions set up by teachers," Dunleavy says. Most of the time, preschoolers will realize that school is fun and forget their uneasiness.

8. Allowing your preschooler to miss school even for one day could begin a difficult cycle of school avoidance.
Dunleavy believes parents should have a loving but firm position on attending school. Missing a day can disrupt their schedule, she says.

Chances are children will have a fabulous time at preschool once they're settled in, both directors agree.

Check out our Preschool Directotry

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