Fall is approaching and with that comes time for preschool. When looking for a preschool for your child, look for one that fits within your family structure. There are several aspects to consider when choosing a preschool. Here are some helpful hints for picking the perfect preschool for your child.
- Consider the cost. Make sure it fits within your budget each month. Look up on their websites a breakdown of costs, add-ons or one-time fees. If this isn’t on their website, call the director of the preschool. They will have all that information for you. This should also include late pick-up or drop-off fees, and whether they have drop-in care or after-school care for older children.
- Consider whether you want a full-time or part-time preschool for your child. Your family might need full-time care so make sure the preschool offers full-time care. When asking about full-time care, ask what hours that covers. Each preschool is a bit different when it comes to pick-up and drop-off times. If your family only needs part-time care, look at different options that fit the needs of your family. What does part-time care look like? What time does part-time care start and end?
- Ask for a tour of the preschool. When calling the preschool, ask for a tour of the facility. This will give you a sense of the building, staff, and layout so that you can help your child get ready for school. Bringing your child on the tour is a great way to see how your child likes the school, interacts with the teachers and director, and to see their mood throughout the tour. But it can also be an overwhelming experience for them. If they become upset on the tour that doesn’t mean they don’t like the preschool, they are just feeling overwhelmed.
Once you have found what works for your family, start to prepare your child.
- A few days or a week before school starts, begin talking about school and how much fun it is. Talk about some of the things they might start to learn at school, such as letters and numbers.
- Take a visit together to the school if you haven’t already. Practice getting ready in the morning together and go on a drive to the school. Taking your child to the preschool’s location a few days beforehand will show them where they will be going very soon and it will help prepare them for when the first day of school comes.
- Talk about friends and what it looks like to be a friend by sharing and taking turns.
- Play school together at home. Pretend you are the teacher and have your child be the student, then switch rolls. This will be fun for them and you.
- Read to your child.
- Have a good-bye plan with your child, especially on the first day and stay consistent but flexible with the plan. It might be more difficult for you than them.
When dropping off your child at preschool, there might be feelings of anxiety, sadness, or guilt because your child might be upset. This is normal behavior for you and your child to feel. This is the first time you will not be with each other but knowing that separation anxiety is a part of child development is a healthy sign of attachment. If your child does not cry or become upset at drop off, that is normal too. Every person is different so the emotions will be different too.
Preschool is a great time for children and parents to learn new things together!
Kalina Glover Moresi is Parenting Now’s Children’s Program Coordinator, as well as a Parenting Educator.