It is no secret that young children’s minds are a lot like sponges that love to soak up new information. A child’s vocabulary will grow from 900 to 2,500 words between the ages of three and five. During that same period of time, not only does the size of a child’s vocabulary grow but the sentences they use become more and more complex. By the time a child turns six, their brain has already reached about 95% of its maximum size. Early childhood education can make a huge difference for kids’ learning capacity. Child development experts say getting your child ready for their preschool education can be one of the best things you can do for them.
- Get to know your child’s teacher. Before the school year begins, make an appointment with the teacher. Go in and get to know them and bring your child with you. You will feel better knowing the people involved with the childhood education system in your area. You can make your child feel more comfortable with the school and the teacher if they see that person as a friend of yours and theirs.
- Set up play dates with other kids in your child’s class. One way to get your child excited about going to school is to make sure they have friends in their class that they will look forward to seeing once the school year begins. Talk to the parents of the other kids in the class about setting up group play dates so the children can get to know one another. It will help everyone for them to have friendly faces to greet them on their first day of school. It will also make the time they spend away from home easier to deal with.
- Have fun with lunch. Make the most of your child’s lunch time. Go out with them and let them pick out their lunchbox. Give them a say in what kind of foods they will eat for lunch and let them pack the lunchbox themselves. Give them options for what they can eat every day. Ask what kind of fruit they would like — an apple or grapes, for example. Make them the kinds of foods you know they like to eat at home.
- Have more fun with their backpack. When you go shopping for their lunchbox, have them pick out a backpack they like. When you are getting it ready for their school day, let them put in their favorite stuffed animal or blanket.
- Practice being apart. If you do not already have your child attend day care or some other program, and this is the first time you will be separated from them for an entire day, it may be scary and uncomfortable (for both of you). Practice with play dates. Talk it all over with your child. Let them know that it is normal to be scared. Tell them about your experiences going to school when you were a child.
- Be careful about what you project. Experts in childhood education say that kids can pick up on the emotions their parents are feeling. If you are nervous, your child will pick up on that and will also be nervous. On the flip side of that, if you are relaxed, they will notice that as well. Even if you are nervous, try to not show it.
- Do not spend a lot of time when you drop your child off. It is best that you do not hang around when you drop your child off. Say a quick goodbye, give your child a hug and then go. If your child is really upset, leave them with something they know you like a lot. For example, if you have a favorite scarf, leave them with that. It is something they will associate with you and can be comforting.
Getting your child ready for preschool is not something you can do overnight. Childhood education experts report that most kids gain about a third of a year of additional learning in math, language and reading when they are enrolled in a preschool program. This makes this incredibly valuable time for them starts them off in a great position to get the most of this time.