Young kids benefit tremendously from attending a quality preschool program. When little ones spend their days in preschool, they have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of academics, develop their social and emotional skills, learn about the importance of routine and structure, and several other aspects of life at school. But how does your child feel about starting preschool? Does the thought of going to school make them feel giddy and excited? Or does the separation make them feel anxious?

While it is perfectly natural for both parents and children to feel a mix of emotions at the thought of beginning preschool, there’s no reason to be worried. Preschool’s sole purpose is to nurture your growing child. If your child is starting preschool this year, there’s no need to fret. Here’s a list of some things you can do to help make the transition smoother for your little one.

Visit the preschool

Incoming families are usually given the opportunity by most preschools to attend an orientation or visit. This is a great chance for you and your child to learn more about the preschool he or she will attend.  Carve out some time to visit your child’s preschool before his or her first day  so you can both get an idea of what a typical day looks like and the activities your child will experience at this new setting. An orientation visit will also give you the chance to observe the kind of learning environment the school offers,  the classroom setting, the outdoor facilities and of course, meet the teachers and other school staff. If you can, take some photos for your little one to see.

Teach essential life skills at home

At home, we may do almost everything for our children. Even if we want our children to learn how to be self-sufficient, we know deep down that we’ll still be there for them in every way we can. The good news is that preschool is actually the perfect place for your child to practice independence and self-sufficiency. Because you won’t be there in the classroom, preschoolers need to learn to do certain things for themselves. Help your little one get ready for the first day by teaching him or her some basic and essential life skills at home.

Simple things such as unzipping their coats or taking off their shoes are the kinds of things that most young kids should be able to manage to do on their own by preschool age. Be sure to practice these skills with them before preschool starts.

Establish routines

Predictability helps young kids feel safer and more secure. This is why they thrive on well-established routines.In a quality preschool, your little one’s day will emphasize learning how to follow a routine in a structured environment. To help your little one with this transition, you can establish routines at home. Start by creating and sticking to morning and bedtime routines. Set a specific time for waking up in the morning, having breakfast, and getting dressed. At night, try to adhere to a consistent bedtime routine too, which should include things like brushing their teeth, changing into pajamas, and reading a bedtime story.

Arrange playdates

Because one of the goals of preschool is helping your child’s developing social skills as they interact with peers, it is helpful to arrange playdates for your little one before starting preschool. Give your child the chance to learn how to play with other kids, share their toys, express themselves, and make friends. Learning that these are some of the things they’ll also get to do at preschool will make them look forward to it.

Allow your child to play at the preschool

Besides attending orientation visits, it can also be helpful for your little one to play at the preschool, if your preschool offers that option. It can also help with the transition to a new setting.  If you have the opportunity, bring your child along on a tour of the school so he or she can see the new setting where all of the new, fun, and exciting things will be happening soon. Let your child try out the playground as another way of getting a better feel for the new environment. The more familiar your child feels with this new place, the easier it will be for him or her to become comfortable and more confident at their new school.

Starting preschool can be a very exciting time for families with young kids. Get your little one geared up for this new adventure and wonderful journey with the help of these tips!If you’re looking for the best preschool for your little one, please visit The Pillars Christian Learning Center.