Lacing up tiny shoes and donning adorable school bags; it’s the season of entering (or returning) to preschool. This is a time of transition from being in familiar home ground to readjusting to school life, with new faces to get to know and new knowledge to gain.
While often overlooked, it is an important transition period for your child to be equipped with the right tools to readjust to his or her new environment with confidence. In this article, we explore some key pre-school preparation tips to help them understand the transition through creating habits, mastering skills, and improving communication for a successful school year.
Pre-School Preparation Tip 1: Establish Daily Routines
Consistency and structure of routines greatly assist young children in feeling safe and secure. Designing simple routines for your child to follow as they enter the new school year can help them face the schooling system with confidence. Here are some routines to consider establishing:
- Sleep Schedule: Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time that align with your child’s school schedule. A consistent sleep pattern also contributes to their physical and cognitive development.
- Mealtimes: Ensure that mealtimes are consistent, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet and equip them with the knowledge to pick healthy and balanced food options.
- Preparing for School: Introduce school-related routines, such as getting dressed and packing their backpacks the night before to minimize stress in the morning, for both child and parents.
Pre-School Preparation Tip 2: Provide Motor Skill-Based Activities
A large part of pre-school learning involves refining fine-motor skills. Examples of this are tasks involving the use of small muscles in their hands and fingers, which are necessary for tasks like writing, drawing, and using scissors. Here are some activities they can start practising for a smoother transition into preschool:
- Art and Crafts: Introduce art and crafts in their daily home activities, such as colouring, tracing, and cutting along the lines.
- Cooking Together: Cooking meals with your child can be a fun way to improve their fine motor skills. Let them help with tasks like removing vegetable leaves from stems, stirring batter, mixing condiments, or setting the dining table. These activities allow them to practise using small muscles for precision and help them become more aware of their surroundings.
- Outdoor Play: Larger motor skills can also be developed through activities such as cycling, playing badminton, or playing at the neighbourhood playground. Additionally, this also allows your child to connect with their community of adults and other child playmates.
Read also: Developmental Milestones for 5-6 Year Olds
Pre-school Preparation Tip 3: Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence
Entering a new environment takes a toll on a child’s emotion as they process information, systems, and the culture around them. An important tool for them to have in their hands is the ability to recognize, understand and articulate their emotions. This will contribute to their emotional well-being, help foster resilience and equip them with essential life skills they can carry into the classroom and beyond.
- Teaching Emotional Vocabulary: Teach your child the names of different emotions. Use simple, relatable terms such as happy, sad, angry, and excited. Encourage them to express how they feel using these words. By doing so, you help them build a foundation for understanding and articulating their emotions.
- Normalizing a Range of Emotions: As humans, we experience a wide range of emotions and it’s ideal for children to recognize that they feel it too, and that it is completely normal! Share with your child about the emotions we feel such as happiness, frustration, sadness, and others while reemphasizing how no emotion is inherently good or bad.
- Active Listening: Encourage your child to talk about their feelings by being an active and empathetic listener. When they share their emotions, listen with an open heart as this will encourage them to envision you as a safe space and strengthen your bond with your child.
- Positive Reinforcement: Acknowledge your child’s efforts in expressing and managing their emotions by providing them praise and guidance. This helps them recognize the importance of balancing emotions and encourages them to continue sharing their feelings in a healthy manner.
- Creating a Safe Space: Create a safe space for sharing and expressing emotions within the home through open conversations. When expressing emotions is not met with judgement and punishment, young children learn to seek support from their parents when needed.
- Storytelling and Role Models: Share age-appropriate stories and examples of characters or people who have faced similar emotional challenges and how they managed their feelings. Role models, whether fictional or real, can inspire and provide practical insights for your child.
Read also: Nurturing Holistic Development in Children
Pre-school Preparation Tip 4: Make Work-Life Balance Work for Your Child’s Wellbeing
Parenting is no easy feat, as the balancing act of juggling work responsibilities and family life is a delicate one. However, there are a great number of benefits your entire family can reap from maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Here are a few examples:
- Quality Family Time: Crafting out time exclusive for family has great pay-offs for the future. These precious moments are often what children hold on to to reassure themselves of the safe space they have with you, building strong connections and nurturing their emotional well-being. Engaging in activities like family outings, game nights, or simply sharing meals strengthens bonds and creates cherished memories.
- Better Communication: As parents, we need energy to keep up with our children. A balanced life gives us space and energy to have better communication with our children. A rested mind will provide the mental clarity you need to engage in meaningful conversations, actively listen to their concerns, and offer guidance when necessary, ultimately, helping your child feel heard and understood.
- Time for Academic Support: Your child will benefit greatly from academic support and guidance you provide such as helping with homework, attending school events, and participating in parent-teacher meetings. Showing up for them will contribute to your child’s academic success and overall holistic development.
In conclusion, a large factor of being pre-school ready is largely dependent on a child’s emotional well-being and confidence. Apart from establishing a consistent routine, engaging in motor skill activities and teaching your child about emotional well-being, your own routine as an adult plays a large part in them having a positive and fulfilling educational journey. Joyous Education encourages parents to employ these strategies in creating a well-rounded approach that encompasses physical, emotional, and academic aspects of your child’s development, setting the stage for positive growth, learning, and well-being.