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Preschool preparation: 14 activities to prepare kids for their first day in the Pre-K classroom.

These easy, beneficial activities will help to build preschool readiness for toddlers.

Of all the milestones for toddlers attending preschool and best daycare near me could be the most significant. When your child goes on their first day of preschool, the doors will open up in ways that they can’t even imagine at home, opening an opportunity to learn a new set of capabilities. 

While schools are a great place to grow and learn, parents and teachers can be a bit more organized before the time to aid in building preschool-ready skills.

“Preparing the child to go into kindergarten could be the beginning of a fascinating education journey,” claims Elanna Yalow, Chief Academic Officer, Kiddie Academy of Stafford. 

“It is also an important transition for each child in the household. However, it’s easy to focus on the physical aspect of the transition – such as school bags, backpacks, and the like. It’s far more important to pay attention to the emotional aspect of preparation.”

“Preparing your children for preschool is the first step in a thrilling adventure into learning.”

ELANNA YALOW, CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER, KIDDIE ACADEMY OF STAFFORD

Are you preparing your child for school? Here are 14 parental- and expert-backed strategies to help kids get an edge before heading into the pre-K classroom.

1. Establish an established routine

As per Tovah Klein, who has her doctorate in developmental and clinical psychology and also serves as head of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and the co-author of “How Toddlers Thrive,” the best early childhood environment has clear routines, and children will learn as they grow older what they can expect. But, “the main activities that can help children as they begin preschool are the routines they’ve established in their home environment,” the author says.

“Routines can help children develop independence as they know what they need to do and what’s in the future,” Klein continues. “For instance, kids will be taught that the books must be returned to the shelves once they’ve finished reading.”

“Routines help children develop independence as they know how to proceed and what’s the next time. “For instance, kids will be taught that they must return the books returned to the shelves at the end of book time.”

TOVAH KLEIN, DIRECTOR OF BARNARD COLLEGE CENTER FOR TODDLER DEVELOPMENT

PreschoolPreschool is an opportunity to learn about routines; establishing habitual habits at home to perform routine activities like washing your hands and dressing will aid in the change. “Preschool-aged youngsters still require adults’ help, but having a routine will help them get ready for school and adjust to the routines that they will encounter at school,” Klein adds.

Great to build confidence and self-confidence

2. Playschool

There are a few kids who can’t resist going to school. Luckily, this old-fashioned, pretend-play game is a great way to prepare for preschool. “If the child would like to play, the parents and their caregivers can pretend to be at school by adding dolls or stuffed animals to the mix and then being the teacher,” Klein says. “You can practice routines, such as singing songs, eating lunch or creating using blocks. Rehearsing the process of dropping off at the drop-off point and then getting back together after the day when the caregiver or parent returns will benefit the child.”

Good for knowing the things to anticipate, adjusting to new circumstances and dealing with emotions through play

3. Talk it out

One of the most effective ways to prepare children for school is to engage them in conversation. “Parents and caregivers must engage with children about what they think about their first day at kindergarten,” Yalow explains. “Ask the questions you want to ask and then work to address any potential issues. The most important thing is to be attentive and responsive to the child’s requirements. Your preschooler could be anxious and excited simultaneously, which can be confusing!”

When talking to children concerning what’s coming up on the “big day” is important, Klein also adds that it’s best not to constantly talk about it too long from the date. “Young children have no sense of time, so it’s best to wait until about a week before school will give them enough time to begin discussing the preschool years,” Klein says. Doing it too long in advance can be difficult and cause stress about school instead of looking forward to it.”

Great for: Promoting emotional and social development as well as ensuring a secure connection to parents and caregivers

4. The work is to label emotions.

Alongside having conversations about the preschool experience to get at the heart of children’s anxieties, helping them recognize their feelings can be beneficial also. “For certain children, preschool is the first time they’ll interact with children who aren’t part of their immediate family, and it’s a learning curve to be experienced,” Yalow says. “The essential abilities a preschooler could possess are those that can be described as social-emotional or commonly referred to as soft skills. These abilities comprise the capability to recognize their emotions and the basic strategies for emotional regulation and the capacity to interact with children.”

Excellent for: Building emotional regulation and social skills

5. Flowers breathe

Naming emotions is among the initial steps to emotional regulation. However, it doesn’t end there. Children must also learn to be able to calm themselves when they are stressed or out of their element. One approach to assist with this is through flower breathing. “To assist children in their early years to regulate their emotions help them breathe deeply,” Yalow says. “Hold two fingers together, then ask the child to smell the flower while they breathe in [one finger], then blow the candle out while exhales the other.”

Yalow says that talking with children about your personal feelings and how you manage them assists in the development of this skill as well. “You could say: “I’m sad; however, I know that the comfort of a hug can aid in my recovery or ‘I’m angry, and it’s fine. It’s not okay to punch. However, I could punch the pillow or kick my feet to push the emotions of my body,'” Yalow explains.

Excellent for practicing emotional self-regulation

6. Play Simon Says

Have a child who is a fan of Simon Says? You’re lucky to be. “In addition to facilitating children’s imagination, popular games like Simon Says, and freezing dance and sorting/matching game can aid children in developing their executive functioning skills, which aid them in planning and managing emotional states,” Yalow says. “These crucial skills can help children adjust to new circumstances and cope with anxiety.”

“In addition to facilitating children’s imagination, regular games like Simon Says, and freezing dance and sorting/matching games can help children build executive functioning skills that aid them in planning and managing their children’s emotions.”

ELANNA YALOW, CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER, KIDDIE ACADEMY OF STAFFORD

Excellent for Self-control and managing emotions, and adapting to different situations and individuals

7. Help with backpacks and coats

If kids go home with their schoolwork, their backpacks may be partially opened, and, to admit it, they may wear their underwear. However, at a real school, it’s not going to be the case. Some parents and teachers might wish to assist children in brushing up on these basic abilities.

“One of my greatest concerns regarding sending my son off for school was getting himself in his coat, and then putting the backpack.” is the mother of Karen Schmidt of Brooklyn, New York. 

“In previous years, I would do the task for him as it was faster and easier, but before school started, I ensured that he could complete the task independently.”

Excellent for improving motor skills, coordination and organizational skills

8. Create play dates

“It’s crucial that children spend time with their peers and interact with minimal supervision, but not requiring any supervision from adults,” Yalow says. Yalow. “Before school, go to the playground or organize play dates with children of similar ages, and then step back and allow the children to play.”

“If your child isn’t yet willing to play with other children, let them remain with you until they’re at ease with other kids,” Yalow explains. When the children play with each other, watch their actions and speak to them about their thoughts. 

If they enjoyed themselves, then ask them what they liked about it. If awkward or conflicting moments were encountered, assist them in coming up with solutions for these issues in the future.”

Good for: Strengthening social skills

9. Take time to be apart

Many children have been spending time with their parents and families more frequently than usual over this past year. Due to the situation, Klein stresses that it’s more crucial than ever to learn how to be able to separate. 

“Given that children have been in the home with parents for so long amid the epidemic, PreschoolPreschool preparations should include helping children cope with separation, even if they’ve had in-person education or attended a day camp,” she explains. 

“Preparing for separation is a requirement for parents, and caregivers must spend some time away from their child. they go away and return when they return, whether to the supermarket, for an extended walk, or dinner.”

Klein says it’s crucial to inform the child you’re leaving and to be sure to greet them upon arriving back. “The returning and leaving will allow the child to know that daddy or mommy always return,” she says. “This foundation of security is what a child needs to be able for them to feel at ease in the school.”

“The leaving and coming back is a means to show the child that dad and mommy will always return. This security foundation is what children require to be able to stay in school.”

TOVAH KLEIN, DIRECTOR OF BARNARD COLLEGE CENTER FOR TODDLER DEVELOPMENT

Great for: Increasing the levels of comfort when being separated from caregivers or parents

10. Visit the school

If you can, Klein recommends kids meet the teacher and visit the classroom before the time that the school year begins. “This will help to acclimatize the child before starting school with a kids class,” she says. If going to school isn’t possible, Klein advises walking or driving past the school or playing at the play area instead. “Slowly introduction of the idea of preschool to children can ease them into the place they’ll be going,” she explains.

Ideal for: Assisting in establishing the child with school and alleviating anxiety about the unknown

11. Practice using turns

Sharing and taking turns is a trait that every preschool class tries to teach. For certain parents, a bit of work at the beginning is logical. “Before taking my two children off to school, I handed them a small toy to try to teach them how to share,” says mom of three, Jaclyn Santos of Hazlet, New Jersey. “Sharing certainly isn’t their strongest strength, and I’m not able to claim that they completely got a grasp of it before school. However, I was glad that we made some progress.”

Great to: Develop social abilities

12. Read and share books and stories.

Don’t forget the preschool practice sight words. One of the most effective methods to prepare your kid for the school environment is reading, and after that, read more. Few things are more enjoyable for children than reading, so it’s obvious that settling down with a book is an excellent way to prep your school child. “Storytelling the story with children of events that happened during the day and then reading helps build memory and the ability to communicate,” Yalow says.

Excellent for: Growing vocabulary and preparing for the development of reading

13. Take toys off

Children may not be familiar with that “Clean up, wash up, everyone takes care of themselves” …” song yet, but it is clever to become familiar with cleaning up their mess. “Incorporating things such as hanging coats or putting some toys away and sitting at the table for dinner into the routine can help kids prepare to go back to school,” Klein says.

Great for: Learning and observing the rules and creating independence

14. Do your homework before time to go to bed

In the summer, it’s common for us to let the time to sleep slip away. Since these fireflies can’t stop themselves, you mustn’t wait until the final minute to regularly get children back into their beds. As per the Cleveland Clinic, parents and caregivers should implement the concept of a “school bedtime” within a week or two before the beginning of preschool-preschool. The most effective way to accomplish this is to make sure that children get to bed 15 minutes early every night so that the earlier bedtime doesn’t seem jarring. Since, after all, you can complete everything, you can do all you want, but it won’t do much if your child is tired.

Great for: Building mental, physical and mental health

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