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Transitioning to preschool: What you should know

Is your little one ready for preschool? The transition from toddler to preschooler is a big deal, and there are a few things you should know to make it go more smoothly.


Start early

Preschool classes start in the fall, but don’t think you can call up your school of choice in early September and get a spot. Start studying up on local preschools the winter before your child will go, and register by spring.

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Potty training

Is your tot potty trained? If not, check with your preschool to learn about their policies on this. Depending on their certifications, some schools aren’t allowed to work with kids in diapers — and some of those that can don’t want to. Find out as far ahead of time as you can, so you have time to get your kiddo trained or find a new school if you need to.

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Separation anxiety

There may be some tears shed on the first day or two of school (and we don’t mean yours!). Imagine what you feel like when you walk into a room full of people you don’t know — and then multiply that by ten. That’s how your little one probably feels, so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t want you to go. Find out if the teacher would rather you hang out for a bit, or dash out when he’s not looking. To make it a little easier, talk with your preschooler about what will happen for several weeks before school starts.

Kindergarten head start

Kindergarten is an even bigger adjustment than preschool, but a year or two in preschool will help soften the blow. Time spent in a group, with an organized schedule and tasks to complete, will help them know what to expect. It’ll also do them good to learn to spend some time away from you.

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It’s not about book learning

Will your child learn her ABCs and 123s at preschool? Absolutely! But she’ll also learn so much more.
What a child really takes away from preschool is social skills. They learn to be in a group, to take turns, to work together and to get along with others. They learn lifelong skills like making friends, dealing with rejection and problem solving.

It’s not cheap!

When you start researching preschools, you may suffer from sticker shock. You probably thought you wouldn’t see numbers like that until college! If you want to cut costs, look for preschools in churches and the local YMCA. Because these schools share space with the larger organization, they often don’t have the costs freestanding schools do, making them a little bit less expensive.

Quick Tip

The transition to preschool is usually harder for moms than kids. Don’t cry in front of him; he’ll pick up on it.

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