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Beyond the Crayons and Elmer’s Glue: Getting Your Child Ready for Preschool

Low-Key Letting Go

River School has been a top private preschool in NYC and Jersey City for nearly 25 years, and we know children have different reactions to starting school. Many children become anxious and nervous in the days leading up to the start of school. If your child has the jitters, we can give you a few suggestions for getting your child ready for school the low-key way.

Play School

You want to prepare your child for preschool without a big production. So, do what you always do with your child– play. However, this time as you play, make a game of playing school. Go through the school arrival motions with your child in a fun way. Have him or her put away his coat, go to his cubby for his warm-up tools, have recess time, and then invest in a nap mat, so you can actually have pretend naptime. Make preschool worry free and familiar for your child.
Motor Skills Self Help

Your preschooler is mastering his or her fine motor skills, so practice some of the scenarios that will happen at preschool that involve being self-sufficient and using motor skills. Your child can pack his lunchbox, unpack his backpack, put on and take off his coat, and tie his or her shoes. Completing these daily tasks will familiarize your preschooler with the routine at preschool and help with developmental skills.

Read Books About School Adventures

There are hundreds of books about going to school such as The Night Before Kindergarten and I am too Absolutely Small for School. Read your child books about preschool to calm fears and open the world of adventure.


A Watchful Eye

As the weeks before school unwind, keep a close watch over your child. While your child may not verbalize fears for starting school, there may be some acting out or regressions in independency. Ask questions and tell your child about what lies ahead to calm his or her fears.

Non-Verbal Signs

Your child may cry more, cling tighter to his toys and your legs, or act in an unpredictable manner. These reactions are normal; so do not make a scene about them. Gently and casually continue to talk about school. Do not punish your child for these actions, simply redirect or gently modify the behavior with as little excitement as possible.

Remember to emphasize pick up time in your conversation. These are new situations for your child, so a full explanation will be beneficial.

Questions and Conversation

Your child may truly ask you one singular question about preschool a hundred times. Make sure the question is thoroughly answered the first time, the one-hundredth time, and every time in between. Be patient and answer the questions in a calm way. If the child opens a dialogue of “what if’s” about preschool, answer each query with calm and reassurance.