How To Ease You & Your Toddler Into Preschool.

By Melissa Shrader Editor Publisher Fort Collins Macaroni KID January 16, 2023


It's both a wonderful time and a time of adjustment. Not only for your child but for you too. You and your child are used to being with each other all day. 

The best advice I can give for parents is to enjoy this time. Yes it can be scary, freeing, frustrating and more. Remember this is the beginning of the learning journey.

1) Show how fun learning can be. Play and have fun with it. If you show how fun learning can be they will pick up on that and they will be more prone to learn on their own and continue practicing throughout their lives. Learning can be surprising and sometimes boring, but you still learn something. 

2) Communicate with the teachers and other parents too. Make friends and exchange tips with those who may have a different viewpoint. There is always something that can be learned and taught even to us parents. 

3) Take a ton of pictures and put them up for your child to see. Post their work on the wall or refrigerator. It helps with confidence and they can see how they grow and the things they have learned through the year too. Bonus, You get to seem them and their progress too. It will also make you miss them less when you can pop into the kitchen and see their smiling face on the fringe. 

4) Remember this is a time of learning. Kids will be making mistakes. Learning how to share, taking turns, follow rules and instructions. It's a lot to take in for kids, and there will be critics. My biggest tip is to stay true to yourself and your families rhythms', structure, and truths. Kids and parents go through an adjustment period and there will be all kinds of parents and parenting styles. Be open to learning something new but remember what works for you. 

For the kids. 

How can we make the transition to Preschool easier for them?  

1) Ease your child's fears about being away from you all day. Let them know you will be back to pick them up and that the teacher will call or text if something happens. Many preschools are great about sending pictures or posting fun things throughout the day or week. Reassure your child that you will be watching and you will be there for them still. 

2) Introduce your child to things that will be happening in preschool. Talk to your child about what goes on at preschool and introduce some activities that your preschool will be doing so that your child is familiar with them. 

3) Visit the preschool with your child and let them look around. This will make them more comfortable and it will be more familiar.  (Parent Bonus: you get to meet the teacher and ask any questions you may have)

4) Remember your child is excellent at picking up on non-verbal que's. If you are unsure or nervous they will be too. The more confidence you project the more confident they will feel. 

Tips for the first day. 

Making it an easy drop and go for both of you. 

1) When you go in - reintroduce your child to the teacher and let the teacher begin to form a relationship with your child. 

2) If your child is clingy (mine was) don't get upset. This will make them more clingy and upset too. Say your goodbye's lovingly and then leave. Don't sneak out as this will make your child feel abandoned. Don't stay too long as this will confirm their feelings that the school is a bad place. 

3) Create a goodbye routine.  Have a special handshake, hug, silly face, or leave them with something special for the day. 

4) Parent Note: Kids usually do well after you leave. It's the leaving that's hard or rather saying goodbye isn't easy. 

5) Each preschool has a certain way they start the day. This is to help the children transition from drop off to the preschool day. Getting kids to school on time as much as possible is important as it creates an easy transition for the day for everyone. If you arrive in time for the morning routine it will make your child feel more at ease too. 

In the end this is just one of the many steps in their educational journey. 

It's the most fun and enlightening time for you and your child. It's also one of the hardest as a parent. Letting go is part of the journey. It begins small and grows too just like your child does. Each school year and school transition (preschool, Kindergarten, 1st grade, Middle School, High School then College) grows and one day they transition will be out into the world. Savor each moment and take a ton of pictures. You can use them to remember each step, or you can embarrass them as they grow too LOL.