To make sure your child has a smooth transition from summer freedom to school, start with small steps that can be integrated into daily routines. Whether your toddler is going to preschool for the first time or returning for another year, below are some tips to a parent!
Teach them to be vocal
Try role-playing situations that will come up during the school day with your child. Make them feel comfortable to make requests such as "I need help" or bathroom breaks. Communication and ability to communicate will only help the toddler in the classroom.
Set the stage
Even if your child is returning to preschool, a summer break for a young child can seem like an eternity. Prior to school's beginning, start communicating the new routine to the child. Create excitement for the child and focus on all the positive things that will come with going back to school! Go shopping for a lunch box, school clothes, drive by the school....
Get back in mental shape - alphabet, geometry shapes - practices with your child what he or she have learned in the past to make them feel confident in their skills. Also, keep in mind that by age 4 most preschools expect a child to recognize his or her name, and will encourage to start writing it. Make this activity fun by writing it in chalk on the sidewalk or with a stick in the sand. Similarly, preschool calls for more use of kids' fine motor skills. Some ideas to practice motor skills include ripping paper into long strips, cutting with kid-safe scissors or puzzles.
Stress Self-Help Skills
Bathroom training, velcro their shoes, putting a backpack on - basic self help skills are crucial in the classroom. Kids feel pride mastering these tasks and this encourages their independence and helps them learn organization. Break it down into one manageable step at a time.
Children love to help out! They love to feel included in our daily lives and feel like they are contributing to "adult activities".
Engaging your child in a chore helps them develop practical life skills. It goes without saying, that these chores should always be supervised by an adult.
Some things to keep in mind as you engage your child into these chores - don't force the child; look for child sized items such as brooms; keep the movements and their pace slow; let go of perfection and make it fun!
Here is a list of age appropriate chores for children (click on infographic for full size).