Preschool is an important transition in your child’s life. From the safe confines of your home your little one transcends into an alien environment, far from the safety of her mother’s arm. Needless to say, it is a critical period and being anxious is all too natural.
There are certain things, however, that can ease this move. Not only will they get your little one ready for the new environment but also give you confidence that your little one will adjust just fine. The beauty of these activities is that they are non-academic, fun and do not add any pressure to the already anxious mother and toddler. These activities are aimed t building communication and social skills that your child will need to adjust and stay happy at preschool.
Little children learn a lot through their senses. They need to touch and feel to absorb information and understand things better. Sensory play is just that. It allows children to explore the world around them with their senses. Engaging in sensory play is thus a must to prepare a child for preschool.
- Allow your child to get messy with finger paint, play dough, slime to help him explore the sense of touch.
- Take some kidney beans, chick peas, lentils and put them into opaque containers to make different sounds. Let your child explore and understand the different sounds each grain makes
- Kinetic Sand or sand play is another activity that helps your child to invigorate her senses.
- Blind fold your child and make her smell different spices from kitchen.
- Another blind fold activity is to make your child taste different foods and guess them.
Playschool or any kind of formal atmosphere outside home requires children to listen and follow instructions. It is hence imperative to practice listening skills at home and give children 1-2 line instructions to follow. Children also must learn to take turns and play amicably.
- Play simple games to build turn-taking skills and patience to wait for their turn to come. Like singing rhymes while taking turns, passing the ball, painting together all teach children to be patient and wait for their turn.
- Pretend play is another activity which allows children to listen and follow instructions. Ask your child to get his doll dressed and take him to school.
- Assign small, simple chores like tidy up your toys and put your shoes away, pick your clothes and put them in laundry etc.
- Play silly games like jump and then clap, roll and sit etc. These games help children develop essential listening skills and practice following instructions.
A polite, well-mannered child is a always a delight to have. Work with your child to teach basic courtesies like Please, thank you, welcome. Teach them to wash hands before and after meals, after using washroom, keep their plates in the kitchen sink, clean their face etc. Another important thing to teach is to wait for their turn to speak.
Build Social Skills
Before a child starts playschool, it is imperative to expose her to an outdoor social environment where she has the opportunity to interact and observe other children of similar age.
- Schedule play dates with friends and family to help child adapt to different people and mingle with them.
- Visit Play areas where children can play independently along side with other children. This will help develop an ease, comfort and security for your child and help her understand that mom is around, thus help her deal with separation anxiety.
Another good way to get children ready for preschool is to read to them. There are ample titles available that cater to this topic and discuss various emotions pertaining to this new phase. These books help children understand and familiarize them with school settings. Once they are aware of the environment and the outcomes, half of the anxiety goes away.
Preschool is a place where your child will learn alphabets, numbers, colors and beyond. But before your child can learn any of these skills, it is important that she feels comfortable and safe in her new environment. None of the above activities are academic in nature but they are foremost in building the right mindset for preschool. Academics will fall into place once your child has adjusted and adapted to her new environment. The least you want is to burden her with literacy and numeracy skills, which can add to her anxiety.
Lastly, it is crucial to understand that despite every effort, some apprehensions and anxiety will be there irrespective of how much you have prepared yourself and your child. At the same time, starting school is indispensable. While some children we adapt with relative easy others will take their own good time. Every child is different and care must be taken keeping temperament of your child in mind.