My little guy turned three in June of 2021 and I was so pumped for him to start preschool. I think the ex-teacher in me was nostalgic for the new classroom materials and overall experience. It was like I was the one going to preschool. What I quickly learned was that transitioning to preschool required some prep work. I couldn’t just send him without helping him be mentally and physically ready. Preparing for the transition to preschool was more important now than what it would have been prior to the pandemic. My son had been surrounded by a small circle consisting of parents and grandparents for over two years. Being in a classroom was going to rock his little world. Needless to say, I had some work to do.
Doing My Homework
Getting E ready for preschool meant I had to do my research up front. There are three preschools in our area so we had some options to explore. I wanted his transition to preschool to be as seamless as possible so looked into places I felt his personality would excel in. Social media helped a ton with this. There are so many community groups to seek information from. All I had to do was ask about specific schools and moms flooded the comments sections with their experiences.
I also made sure to understand the preschool requirements. Most preschools require their students to be potty trained. Choosing a preschool might also come with a time commitment from the parents. Some schools, like co-ops, require parents to donate their time whether it be in-person or behind the scenes. We also considered the location of the preschool. You have to do what works best for your schedule and part of that is the location. Driving your child to a preschool that is 20 minutes away is going ultimately going to add 40 minutes of additional driving time. That distance may not matter to some, but for us it did. We chose a school that was 2.5 miles away which offered small class sizes. These things were important to us and made us feel confident in our decision.
Potty Training is a Must
Transitioning to preschool means your little one needs to be potty trained. Every single person in the world has an opinion on potty training and my best advice is to do what works for your family. Some recommend The Oh Crap Potty Training Book. This is a more intense way of getting your kiddo to use the potty and many see success within days.
We took a more laid-back approach which worked for us, but this did mean our son didn’t start preschool the year I planned. Holding him back one more year made sure he was able to use the bathroom independently. We gave him M & Ms as a reward: one for going pee and two for making a bowel movement. Underwear was a must during the day, too. We also read Potty Superhero which went over very well for him. By 3.5 he was there and I know he will be good to go when he starts preschool this fall.
Whatever method you choose, just know there will be highs and lows. Some days they’ll beg you for a diaper and other days they’ll use the potty all day. It gets better with time and will get them preschool ready. Don’t forget to give yourself grace.
Please don’t let this heading fool you. There are no stipulations for entering preschool. Whether your child knows all their colors and ABCs now or not will not harm them when it comes to their preschool success. There are things you do at home to help ease into the idea of a structured school day.
We read books together about school to give him a feel for what it would be like. Our favorite was Preschool Here I Come. E loves playing pretend so we would also act out a school setting where we would take turns being teacher and student. We practiced walking in a line, sitting in a circle, raising our hand to talk, and whatever else came to mind. Again, I used to be a teacher so this was probably over-kill but he had fun so we went with it.
You know your child the best and will choose the most appropriate options. Transitioning to preschool doesn’t have to be high anxiety, wait lists, and recommendations. It can be a lot simpler if you just focus on what you can control and allow the rest to fall into place. You’ve got this mama.