Oh JoyOh Joy

preparing (yourself) for pre-school...

Oh Joy

A few years ago, I wrote a post about how to choose a pre-school after I had gone through the process of choosing one for my oldest (who recently graduated pre-school and starts kindergarten this fall!). My youngest, Coco, started pre-school last week. After having gone through the process with my first, I thought the start of pre-school would be easy the second time around. But, it wasn't and we are still working on getting her used to a new environment and a new schedule. Here are a few things I've learned that I thought might help some of you starting your babes at pre-school soon...

1. Don't have any expectations of how your child will respond. I seriously thought Coco would roll right into school tear-free because she's more easy-going than my more sensitive first child. But Coco still had a hard time at drop-off, and we're getting her more used to it every day.

2. Talk about school in advance, and tell them what they'll do there. Get them familiar with what happens at school and some of the activities they'll do. The mistake I made this time around was as I talked to Coco about school leading up to it, but that I forgot to mention that I would not be there. She was so excited for school to start only to realize on the first day that I was wasn't staying with her the whole time.

3. Potty train well in advanced if needed but not right before school starts. Some schools require kids to be potty-trained and some schools don't. If your goal is to get potty-trained before school starts, do it well in advanced so that by the time school starts, they have been pretty regular with the potty by then. A new environment and change can cause regression (and accidents) so the longer they've been potty trained before school begins, the less they'll regress in a new environment. And, if your school does take kids in diapers, don't rush it and let your kid start in diapers and the potty will come with time.

4. Don't carry them into school. I learned this early on that when you are getting kids acclimated to daycare or pre-school for the first time (anywhere where you are leaving them and saying good-bye), you don't want them to be in your arms and then go from that comfort hold to saying goodbye a minute later. Instead, hold their hand and walk with them to make the separation easier.

5. Make goodbyes short and sweet. As much as you want to tell them a million times how much you love them and will miss them, that only makes it worse. Give a kiss and a hug and say your goodbye once—even if there are tears. They are in good hands with their school, and they will be fine once you have left.

Every kid acclimates to school in their own way and in their own time, but it can be so hard while they are still getting used to it. If you have any of your own tips, please share below for any other parents out there!

{Photo by Casey Brodley}