You know the basics of sending your child to preschool, like making sure they are potty trained and never sending your kid when they are sick. But, as a "newbie" preschool parent, you'll learn things as you make the journey that will make preschool so much easier for you and for your child. You can skip the learning curve with some of these parenting tips:
1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
In preschool, what is the small stuff? The small stuff might be a show-and-tell, a wear-red-and-green day, or something similar. If you forget to send a toy or to put your kid in the right clothes, don't stress over it. Kids are resilient, and you will care about the mistake more than it will affect your child.
However, don't forget that there are some big things you should stress over. These include:
- bringing snacks on your assigned day. If you forget, you'll need to make a stop at a grocery store or have a friend bail you out. The kids depend on snacks to remain in good spirits and it is fundamental for kids at this age to have established eating times and dependable routines. Remember: hungry kids = devilish chaos; full kids = heavenly bliss.
- bringing valentines for the whole class (or invitations etc). If you want your kid to participate in class parties, the rule of thumb is to bring one for everyone. Your child should have something to contribute, even if it is small, for larger events, as they will notice and care that they were unable to do so.
- allergies. Take them seriously. If the preschool has a "no homemade goods" rule, honor it.
2. Labels are your friend.
Everything that enters the preschool should have your child's name on it somewhere-- even the stuff you wouldn't think about labeling:
- waterbottles. If another kid comes with one the same color or style, your child won't accidentally share germs. In fact, you might want to tie a special keychain or ribbon on your kid's bottle, just to make it easy for him or her to distinguish.
- clothing (including socks). If your child has a potty accident or throws up or spills glue on himself at the macaroni table, you can't guarantee that clothes (including socks) won't get lost after a wardrobe change.
- any toys or comfort blankets, for obvious reasons.
- hairbands or other jewelry. Your child may want to wear a necklace or other adornments during the day, but they are easily taken off and forgotten. Use a piece of masking tape folded over the chain to write their initials.
3. Be on time.
Parents are busy. You might have an occasional crisis where the dog gets out, the porch catches fire, or your teen slams his hand in the sliding door and loses a finger in the process, but barring emergencies, try not to arrive late to pick your child up at the end of the preschool day. Teachers are responsible for your child until you arrive, and if all parents make it a habit of arriving just a few minutes late, the extra burden on the teacher quickly escalates. You might even face financial penalties if you are consistently late.
4. Keep handouts and directories.
If you are given a school directory with contact information and parents names, make sure it is kept safe and isn't accidentally thrown away with the toast crusts and dealership flyers. If you don't have an official directory, take the time to meet with a few other parents to exchange contact information early on (like, on the first day) if possible. You never know when you will be in crisis mode and need another parent to pick up your child or cover for you because you committed the cardinal sin and forgot the snacks.
For more information that can help you prepare for preschool, consider contacting a professional like those at Rainbow Montessori.