Once your child enters toddlerhood, he becomes ready to step out of home and go to a playschool. While you took the utmost care in choosing a playschool for your child, did it ever strike you that you need to prepare your child for school as well?
Going to a playschool means leaving the safe, secure and familiar confines of the home and adjusting to an unknown environment. There are rules to be followed, learn ways of doing things, make new friends and what not. But, to enjoy his time in a playschool, your child should know a few things beforehand. Let’s look at some of the key areas you should focus on while preparing your toddler for attending a playschool.
1. Separation anxiety: When your child begins going to school, he will be staying away from you for a few hours. This can give rise to separation anxiety in your child. So, make him practise staying away from you well in advance. You can leave him with a relative or at a friend’s house for a couple of hours.
2. Self-confidence: Your child is going to a place where she has never been before. Although she may not be able to express it, she may feel anxious and unsure of herself. So, tell her about the exciting things she can do in playschool. For example, she can learn and play several new games, meet other kids and make more friends. Having an idea of what a playschool is like and the things she can do there will make her feel confident and reassured.
3. Potty training: By the time a child goes to playschool, it is expected that he will be toiled-trained, although playschools are prepared to handle occasional accidents. Being potty-trained gives a toddler a lot of confidence and independence. So, teach your child how to go to the toilet alone, pull up his pants after he is done, and wash and dry his hands. Reinforce to your child that when he has the urge to visit the restroom, he should let his teacher know about it. Also, tell your child that if he has soiled his pants, he should inform his teacher about it.
4. Self-Feeding: A toddler is expected to know how to eat finger food like biscuits, meatballs and diced fruit. She should also be able to drink from a water bottle. So, while at home, make your toddler practise how to eat on her own and drink from a bottle. Also, teach her how to open and close the lunch box and the water bottle, and wipe her hands and mouth with the napkin. Alert the school staff about any food allergies your child may be suffering from. This is important because children tend to eat from lunch boxes of kids sitting around them. Also, in case the school is providing food for your child, they will need to know about her allergies.
5. Social and language skills: In the school, your child is going to be among other children. He should know how to socialise and get along with other kids. There are a few ways you can help him learn how to socialise with others around him. For example, invite children from the neighbourhood to your home or take him to the park and allow him to play with other children. Along with social skills, also work with your toddler to improve his language skills. This is important as it will help him communicate his needs to his teachers or caretakers.
6. Riding the school bus: If you are planning to send your child to school in a school bus, it is very important to teach her how to make the trip safely. Take her out on public transport and explain how to board, sit and alight from the bus. It is important to point out to her to never put her hand out of the window while riding on a bus or any other vehicle.
Remember the adage ‘forewarned is forearmed’. Not only does it apply to adults, but also to children. So, prepare your child well before you send him away on the most important trip of his life, that is, to school.