5 Things to Teach Your Child before Preschool

All parents want their children to succeed in preschool, and it can be stressful the first time your child is gone for an extended period. Preschool is a wonderful opportunity for children to get the academic and social skills they need for kindergarten. There are many things you can do to help a child succeed in preschool right at the start. The follow skills make the preschool experience much easier for you and your kid.

Communication and Sharing

For many kids, especially those without siblings, preschool may be one of the first times they have had to interact with many peers in a structured environment. This can be a huge shock to a child who is used to being the center of attention at home. While a great deal of social skill building will happen in the preschool setting, parents can give their kids a head start by working on some basics at home.

The first major skill is communication using words. Most young children, even if they are verbal, resort to non-verbal communication when their emotions run high. Instead of saying what is bothering them, they may scream, fight or throw a tantrum. Always encourage young children to use their words to explain a problem and talk about what is happening instead of yelling, running or fighting. Parents can model this by always sitting down with their child and talking about problems. Remember that a problem that seems small or obvious to you, probably isn’t small or obvious to your young child. This practice helps them stay calm and teaches them to resolve problems the right way.

The other major skill is sharing. Many young children enter preschool with little understanding of how to share or why it’s important when working in a group. At home, you can encourage sharing practice while playing games or eating. They may share toys during playtime or food during mealtime. This is an especially important skill if you’re enrolling your child in a Montessori school like Miniapple International Montessori School, as there will be a range of ages that the child will have to learn to get along with.

Independence

The ability to think and make some decisions for themselves is critical to a child in school. They will be much more successful if they have some ability to act independently and make choices without the approval of an adult or peer. Independent work is a major part of some of the most successful preschools.

You can do many things to foster independence in your young child. Most parents do everything they can to protect their child, but sometimes it is best to let them make mistakes or discover things on their own. As long as they are physically safe, allow a child to make some small decisions during activity time. They may choose what games they want to play or where they want to go for a walk. One of the best things you can do for your child is to sometimes let them take the lead and just follow along. Even if you know they aren’t making the best decision, letting them figure that out on their own is an incredible part of learning.

Organization and Cleanliness

Organization is an important basic skill for preschool and life. A child who is used to keeping their work and play spaces clean and organizing their things will be able to function much more effectively in a preschool setting. In most classrooms, materials and play items are organized, and children are expected to pick up after themselves. If your child enters the classroom with these habits already in place, they will be a role model for other kids and have a much easier time.

Knowledge of Basic Information

You don’t have to worry about your child’s hardcore academic skills such as letters or math. Instead, it is more beneficial to make sure they have the basic skills covered. This includes the ability to say and possibly write their full name and at least one of their parent’s names. Keep in mind this is different from actual reading and writing ability. Your child doesn’t need to understand letters or sounds for this.

If your child has some understanding of numbers already, it can be very useful to teach them their phone number and address as well. You can work on saying this information out loud or dialing the numbers on a phone.

If your child has special needs or allergies, you will need to report this on their documents and should probably also tell the staff and teacher directly. It is also important your child has an understanding of their own needs. The preschool environment can be chaotic and staff may not be as zealous as you are about protecting your kid from allergies. The best bet is to be sure your child has the knowledge and practice to protect themselves from foods or situations that may trigger the allergy and be able to communicate these allergies to teachers.

When your child is properly prepared for preschool it can be a hugely fun and rewarding experience for them. Every stage is building block and helps the next stage become easier.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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