How to navigate starting preschool

27 Oct 2019

Starting preschool is a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience for both you and your toddler.

But this big change is scary for many little ones – to prevent tears and help smooth the transition, keep the following tips in mind:



Visit the preschool and meet the teachers with your toddler at least once or twice before the official first day. This allows you and your toddler to get to know the teacher and the school – making the first day less strange and new when it arrives.

Talk about preschool in the days and weeks leading up to the big day, and try to excite them and get them to look forward to it. Be sure to mention all the fun stuff they can expect to happen there, such as new friends to play with, singing songs, playing in the playground, and all the new things they will learn.


Don’t sneak away

It may be easiest for you, but sneaking away will only make your little one feel more afraid if you suddenly disappear. Instead, once you arrive, preoccupy them with something fun as soon as possible, but don’t get involved in the activity yourself. Then implement a ‘goodbye routine.’ This may be a hug, kiss, or whatever you and your toddler prefer with a quick verbal goodbye and reassurance that you will see them later.

Once you have said your goodbyes, make your move. Don’t give your toddler time to turn their attention back to you.


Consistency, communication, and encouragement

It may take a couple of days or weeks for your little one to get used to the idea of going to preschool. Yes, it’s frustrating to deal with tears and tantrums every morning, but soon they will see that there is nothing for them to worry about. Don’t give up before they have had a chance to get used to this new routine.

Communicate with them. There are a few cases where situations should be addressed, such as bullying or trouble with learning. In these cases, you should address the problem with their teacher as soon as possible to discuss a solution going forward.

Continue to encourage them and praise them for any progress, no matter how small. Their preschool years are extremely important as it teaches them valuable lessons and skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.