Is your kid heading to daycare or preschool soon? Here are eight simple ways to prepare your toddler for preschool and make the transition a little bit easier for both of you!
It is a very exciting time when your child goes to daycare or preschool for the first time.
I’m always so excited for them because I know they’ll have the best time and enjoy being around other kids her age.
There are many things you can do to prepare your toddler for daycare. And the best part? You probably do these things already!
How To Prepare Your Toddler for Preschool
1. Get Rid of the Pacifier
Oh boy. If your toddler doesn’t use a pacifier, then this is one less thing you’ll need to do! However, if your toddler still uses a pacifier, consider ditching it. There are lots of reasons behind why, but there are two main points:
- It’s yet another sign they are getting bigger, and they’re not “babies.”
- It could make their time at daycare hard
There are a few ways to do it.
There’s stopping cold turkey, which is what works for our family. Yes, we have a few rough nights, but after that, it is smooth sailing. Our toddler still uses a pacifier only at night, so our next step is to take that away.
There’s doing it slow and steady. Depending on how often your toddler uses their pacifier. It may be time to only cut it down to bedtime or a little bit during the day.
There are also more creative ways to do it that I’ve personally never tried. For example, I once read that a mom cut a little bit of the pacifier each day, and when it was gone, it was gone. I read somewhere else that a mom told her toddler they should “give it to other children in need of them,” so get creative if you have to!
2. Remind Expectations
Reminders, we all need them! There are a lot of behavioral expectations in preschool and daycare. Remind your toddler of the expectations, model the proper behavior and engage in repetitive behaviors.
Reminding frequently to share is helpful. Our 2-year-old is starting daycare in a matter of days and sometimes has trouble sharing toys. But then, there are times she has no problems at all.
Giving a reminder is just helping them to remember. Kids need repetition!
3. Talk About School
When you’re excited about something, you talk about it, right?! So get them pumped to go to daycare. Talk about it often. I can’t even count the times I’ve said to my daughter, “Are you ready for school soon?!”, “Are you going to have fun and make friends?!” in the last month!
Also, many YouTube videos discuss going to school for the first time. This one (Warning! It’s CocoMelon, and you and your child may get addicted if you’ve never heard of it before) is one that I’ll be playing right up until that first drop-off.
It will help them be more excited, too!
4. Keep a Routine
It can sometimes be challenging to stick to a routine, especially when you have multiple kids! But there are some things that we won’t budge on. For instance, bedtime is around the same time every night. And we’re consistent on house rules.
5. Visit the School
Another great thing to do is visit the school! Unfortunately, with COVID, we only got to do this after she started. I’m hoping that it will still be smooth once I drop her off in the morning for the first time.
If you have the option, visiting the school is a great way to get your toddler acclimated to the new environment they’ll be in! Even showing pictures may help. We got an email with a video of our daughter’s classroom, which could be helpful too!
6. Bring a Familiar Toy
It may be a good idea to pack a familiar toy in their bookbag for the first day! Of course, they have toys there so that they won’t be lacking in the toy department.
Be careful, though, it could end up lost, or you could end up forgetting about it and have a problem at home later…so make sure it’s a toy you’re okay with taking if you decide to go that route!
7. Make Drop-off Quick
Drop-offs are so hard, especially during the first week or so. Of course, you don’t want to hurt your toddlers’ feelings by leaving!
One of the things they tell us at our daughter’s daycare is to keep drop-offs quick but also let them know you’ll be back soon. Or that daddy (or whoever) will be picking them up. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the door, but it will get easier!
8. Keep It Positive
I know that I’m not the only emotional mama. Dropping off your toddler to have a fun-filled day at school without you is so hard. It’s best not to show that you’re sad (or going to cry, like me) and keep a strong face. (I know I’m not the only mama who’s cried in the car!)
It helps everyone, and then you won’t have a mommy and toddler crying in the morning. Again, one of the reasons you should make the drop-offs as quickly as possible!
Preparing Your Toddler for Daycare
Dropping your toddler off at daycare for the first time is hard. It’s a significant change for both you and your toddler. But you can make the transition into daycare as easy as you can! Just keep in mind that all children are different and will start to enjoy daycare sooner than others.
Keeping your routines the same, the morning drop-offs quick, and talking about school often are just a few ways to prepare your toddler for daycare. Just remember that you’re not alone, and you are doing the best you can for your baby. That is all we mamas can do, and it is the best we can do.
How did or will you prepare your toddler for daycare to make it easy for them (and you)? I’d love to know!