Preparing your child for preschool

Preschool is a big step in the life of a young child -- for many children, it will be the most time they've ever spent with large groups of other children and away from their parents. If you're a little nervous about your child's first day at preschool, don't worry: you're not alone. To help boost your peace of mind, try some of these pre-preschool activities. 

Orientation visits

Many preschools offer a chance to visit before the start of term. If you get the opportunity, take your child to have a look at the school and perhaps meet some of the staff. The first day will be full of new sights, sounds and people, so removing a little of the unfamiliarity will help your new student feel more comfortable. 

Discuss preschool 

Before the first day of school, talk about what's going to happen with your child and outline what will be expected of them. A fun way to introduce these ideas is to read a children's book with a preschool theme together. This activity can introduce some of the main ideas in a way your child will enjoy. 

Discuss socialisation skills

Much of the experience of preschool will be about learning to get along and work together with other children. Young children tend to play alongside one another, rather than together, but it's important that they do so in a friendly way. Some of the basic skills, such as sharing and politeness, may not get much of a workout at home, especially for only children. Go over some of these basic concepts with your child before preschool begins. 

Check health policy 

Depending on the kind of school your child is going to, there are likely to be immunisation requirements. Make sure that you have all your child's vaccination paperwork ready to prove to the school that all the necessary shots are in order. Requirements can vary from school to school, so be sure you know what you'll have to provide. 

Pack for emergencies

Younger children in particular may have some concerns about toilet training when heading off to preschool. Reassure your child that no one will be angry if an accident happens, and make sure that you provide a change of clothes in case of emergency. Even if it's never needed, this can help a younger child who has only recently finished toilet training feel more confident about going to school. 

Sending your child off to their first day of preschool can be a tough moment, but with the right preparation they'll be ready to learn and have fun.