If your toddler has been in the care of you, your extended family, or a nanny, and is entering center-based childcare for the first time as a preschooler, you may be apprehensive about the amount of socialization she has received in preparation for her upcoming days in the classroom. Many children enter preschool without previous experience at daycare, and there are ways for you to make sure your child has sufficient experience socializing with others before her first day at preschool.
Is there a library, playground, or community center in your town? Check out the library’s list of activities and the community center’s offerings, and you may find that you have several choices of child-friendly activities per week, including story time, music hour, and puppet shows. Be sure to bring your child, or instruct his caregiver to bring him, to these activities weekly, in order to give him opportunities to play, sing, dance, and read with other children his age.
If you know of other kids in your neighborhood who are roughly the same age as yours, organize a weekly playgroup. Whether you get two kids, or six or seven kids, together each week, you’re allowing your child to develop ongoing relationships with the same children from week to week, much as she will when she enters preschool.
Take Him with You!
Yes, it’s easier to get your grocery shopping done without a child in tow, and many parents cringe at the thought of bringing their children to a restaurant for lunch or dinner. However, introducing your kids into everyday, adult situations is a great way to teach them to wait their turn, share, keep their voices down, and say please and thank you. Your first few outings may be a challenge, but you will find that your kid will learn from the behavior she sees around her, and adapt in time.
Of course, speak with the preschool teachers and director at the center at which you’re enrolling your little one. They may have advice for your family on how to get your child ready for preschool, with suggestions that will be helpful for their school environment, in particular.