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  • 10 Ways To Mentally Prepare Your Toddler For Preschool

    Preschool can be nerve-wracking. Not just for the parent and/or guardian, but for the child. Children do not know what to expect when it comes to school. It can be difficult if the child has been home with their parent/caretaker and begins full days of school. The change from daycare to school can be an adjustment due to the change of social circle.

    RELATED: 10 Questions To Ask When Finding A Preschool 

    Beginning preschool is often anxiety-inducing for children. You can purchase the outfits, the backpack and the snacks, but there are a few additional things that you can do to prepare mentally for preschool. Read ahead to be inspired by these tips made especially for your toddler.

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    PRACTICE WRITING THEIR NAME

    By the time they get into preschool, they won't necessarily be expected to write, let alone spell their name. But, if they feel as though they're ahead of the crowd, even by just knowing how to spell their name, they will feel a confidence that may be totally priceless.

    Practicing name-spelling is quite simple, too. By writing their name out with dots along a paper, have them trace it with a highlighter or light-coloured marker. Practice makes perfect. This way, they can label their things if needed when they arrive to school.

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    GET THEM COMFORTABLE ON THE TOILET

    Potty training may be going very well. But, it's important that they become comfortable on an actual adult-sized toilet. Many childcare centres have smaller toilets to accommodate a more hesitant child, so it's important to ensure your child is comfortable on an average-size toilet.

    With the help of a top insert for comfort and size, they can easily be placed beside a toilet if they're not yet ready for a toilet seat that's adult-sized. Having them practice in public is a good idea, too. This way, they're not just comfortable with using the washroom in their own home.

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    GETTING DRESSED

    Considering the amount of children that one teacher/caretaker has, it's helpful to ready the child in every way possible to allow them to be as independent as possible. Of course, the teacher/caretaker is there to help with your child's needs, but it's incredibly helpful if you purchase shoes that your child can put on and take off themselves, considering the ratio of teacher to child can be quite overwhelming.

    RELATED: 10 Tasks You Can Give A Preschooler To Teach Them Responsibility

    Ensure you dress them well for easy removal for toilet time. Teach them how to put their own jacket on. Show them to hide their hats and gloves in their jacket sleeves. Any little bit helps.

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    INTRODUCE THEM TO THEIR TEACHER

    Introducing them to their new space and their new teacher can be crucial to this big change in their little lives. Some children adapt well to change, while others may have a hard time. It's important to introduce them to their new surroundings to mentally and emotionally prepare them for this new chapter.

    Having them meet with their new teacher face to face will allow them to recognize their new safe person. Someone who they can go to when they need help or comfort.

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    PLAYDATE

    In order to mentally prepare your toddler for preschool, it's a great idea to get together with multiple children to have them learn what's appropriate and what is not in a social setting.

    If they don't get to socialize,  it may be a bit of a shock for them when they arrive in a school environment. Yes, children adapt quite well in general, but it's imperative that they receive social time with other children for them to mentally prepare for preschool.

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    RECITE ABC'S

    Small lessons at home are a great idea to prepare your child mentally for preschool. Along with tracing their name, you can sing common songs that your children will surely practice once they arrive at preschool.

    RELATED: 10 Tricks To Encourage Your Toddler's Independent Play

    Teaching them the ABC's is a  great start. This song will be sung quite often. If your child recognizes something that has been sung/taught at home, they will find comfort in singing something so familiar in an unfamiliar place.

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    PRACTICE A SCHEDULE

    Children thrive on a routine. It's important to practice a good schedule at home, to prepare them for a new schedule at school. Schedules change, but as long as they know it's important to follow one, they will adapt well to their new routine.

    RELATED: 10 Tricks to Make Getting Ready in the Morning Easier With a Toddler

    You are welcome to discuss their new school schedule, too. This way they won't feel as shocked when they arrive into school and have a certain time for each activity and meal.

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    ENCOURAGE QUIET/NAP TIME

    Most preschools have nap time. For some toddlers and young children, this can be a difficult hour to settle the children; especially for those who are not used to taking naps at home.

    Whether your child still naps or refuses to settle in the afternoon, it's important to find out what time the preschoolers nap. That way, you can have a 'quiet time' at home to prepare them for preschool.

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    SIT AT THE TABLE FOR LUNCH

    We get it: it can be hard to eat each meal at the table. Between busy work schedules, appointments and classes, bringing the family all together for each and every meal at one table can be a total hassle.

    Sometimes, with young kids, you have to pick your battles. Considering there will be a table at school for your preschooler, it's a good idea to get them used to eating their meals at the table at home. That way, they're prepared to do the same at school.

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    TALK ABOUT SCHOOL OFTEN

    Opening up the discussion early in life is imperative. The last thing a young child needs is a situation they never really knew about. Talk about school, a lot. Show them school buses when they pass by, bring them along for back-to-school shopping for your older children and do everything you can to ready them mentally.

    This means talking about school in general. Encourage them to ask questions. This is the beginning of many more years of school, after all. So, if they know you're there to talk to, it will be a comforting foundation for their entire school career.

    NEXT: 10 Pieces Of Parenting Advice From Preschool Teachers

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