How to Prepare Your Child for Preschool
It’s important to start to prepare your child for preschool before they start. If they have been home with you since they have been born, there are some skills that you want them to have before going to preschool. While they don’t need to be doing calculus or reading before preschool there are activities and skills you want your preschooler to have.
My 2.5 year old daughter will be starting part-time preschool in the fall and I’m excited and nervous and wondering how this will be.
Adding preschool into our lives was a decision we made for a few reasons. Our main reason was that she’s always stayed home with me and, before her brother was born a year ago our main interactions were playdates or a music class we attended weekly.
Since adding a new baby into the mix (and her getting older), I’ve noticed how much more of my attention she is seeking and her struggling when it comes to playing with others. We’ve had a lot less playdates because it’s just tougher with 2 babies and all the nap schedules to contend with.
I can tell that she is craving more interaction with kids her age and know that it will be good for her to be around others, learn from others, and pick up some of the social skills that I cannot teach her at home.
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Tot School Activities for Toddlers
For the past year and a half we’ve also added some intentional learning into our typical routines by starting tot school with our preschooler. Part of this is the teacher in me and the other part is knowing that, no matter what she learns at school, she needs reinforcement from home and any added ‘learning’ never hurt anyone.
We don’t do anything too structured as far as home school but we have implemented some Tot School practices into our weeks. In full transparency, it’s been much tougher and less frequent since the baby was born but, I know that any learning activities we do helps!
We follow the curriculum from ABC JESUS LOVES ME which allows us to have a structure of what is developmentally appropriate while fitting it into our day naturally. We don’t have a time where I announce “it’s school time” but times during the day where we do activities to promote learning. We also add in learning from the Play Through the Bible Book from my friend Liz at Steadfast Family! This book has helped us teach the bible lessons we found most important!
Preparing Your Toddler for Preschool
Having a more casual approach when your child is younger is the easiest way to decrease the stress for both you as the parents and them as the child. You never want to force them to do activities or make it so that it’s not fun because, let’s be real, if it’s not fun, your kids won’t’ do it!
We try to pick a theme for each week and come up with 2-3 activities we can do for that theme. The curriculum is great at giving ideas for what themes might work best and activities to go along with it. I print them out on Sundays for the week and keep them in a divided storage shelf so that I can easily grab something if we have 20 extra minutes in our day and want an activity.
All day, we also are working on learning in our environment however it naturally comes up. We point out letters, find numbers, count things, try to make patterns and categories with toys, and READ, READ, READ!!!
Teaching Your Toddler During the Day
If you’re looking for other ways to incorporate learning and prepare your child for preschool, try to find pockets of your day that allow them to be creative, problem solve, and explore.
This can include outdoor play, games like “I spy” or nature walks, cooking, puzzles, seek and finds and more! There are so many ways to make learning and exploring fun, and those are all skills your child needs going into pre-school!
The more you can talk to your child, explain things you are doing, and share new words with them, the more that they will pick up! My daughter has learned so many new words simply from me saying what they are (“Ari, this is a spatula! We’ll use this to stir”), having her repeat it (“Watch my mouth when I saw that word. Good, now you say it”) and using it whenever it comes up in context (“Can you pass me the spatula? Oh we need to stir… hmmm what could we use?”)
How to Teach Your Preschooler Social Skills
One of the things we are working on now is all of the social skills she will need when going into preschool. We know that sharing is hard for any toddler and that she’ll learn how to do it when those moments happen but, that doesn’t mean we won’t work to help her learn those.
When preparing your child for school you can help them by reinforcing manners during the day. Toddlers are completely capable of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and by reinforcing that AND modeling it when we speak to them and everyone else in the household, it helps them make manners a habit.
You can also help them learn about sharing (we use the phrase ‘it’s time to take turns” all day in this house) as much as possible. We are struggling A LOT with this right now, particularly as her favorite thing to do seems to be to take whatever toy her little brother is playing with at the moment. BUT, that doesn’t mean I won’t try to take as many teachable moments as possible.
Toddler and Preschool Activities
If you’re looking for some activities you can start with your toddler now to get them ready for preschool, look no further! I’ve rounded up some super fun activities that you can incorporate into your week and that your toddler will love!
#1 Cereal Color Sort Mat from A Purpose Driven Mom
#2 Matching Games from Becoming Shultz
#3 Fine Motor Skills from A Purpose Driven Mom
#4 Tracing Activities from Meraki Mother
#5 Magnetic Counting from From Engineer to SAHM
#6 IXL Activities from Theresa’s Reviews
#7 Sticker Matching from A Purpose Driven Mom
#8 Lace and Trace Activities for Fine Motor Skills
These are great because they keep little hands busy and help with their fine motor skills! These are the ones that we love!
#9 Basics skills such as using glue and scissors
We do a lot of play and practice with regular glue and glue sticks and just ordered a great book to get her practicing with safety scissors.
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