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Five Things Every Toddler Should Know Before Starting Preschool

So you have chosen a preschool for your toddler and classes will start next month. Think everything is all set? Think again. Does he know everything he needs to know? Here are five little lessons your toddler should learn before starting preschool.

Personal Hygiene

Your toddler should be fairly self-sufficient before he starts preschool. Meaning, your toddler should know how to use the bathroom, recognize and tell the teacher when he feels he has to go, wash and dry his hands, dress himself, raise his hand when he needs something, eat on his own, remove caps and covers and hold things (spoon, fork, cup, pencil, crayons, etc.) correctly. Train him as early as possible so he will not feel so helpless.

How To Interact With Other Toddlers

The first day of class is always terrifying, especially for toddlers. This is normal. But, do keep in mind that your preschooler has to co-exist with other students. Having appropriate social skills will make everything easier. Teach your toddler to say “please” each time he asks for something and “thank you” whenever he receives something. Spend more time at the playground so he can mingle with his peers. Organize play dates. Let him order his food at the restaurant. Try role playing and have him introduce himself to you. Read books or watch videos about friendship. These things will teach your toddler essential social skills such as sharing, cooperation, taking turns, listening, respect and making friends.

Basic Math and Reading Skills

No, your toddler does not have to know a lot of words nor memorize the multiplication table. Expecting your preschooler to learn those things is unrealistic. Knowing how to recite the alphabet, recognize letters and shapes, count to ten, identify numbers, sing songs and nursery rhymes, talk in 5 to 6 word sentences and write his name will put him at an advantage. Let him read a lot of books and practice drawing shapes, counting and sorting objects and writing his name at home.

Safety Basics 101

Safety is an important lesson preschoolers should know. If his mode of transportation is a school bus, attend practice rides. Take a walk with your toddler to his bus stop and give him a list of information he has to know – what time the bus will arrive and leave, where he can find his bus after school, how to use a seat belt, what will happen once he is inside the bus, what he needs to do once he gets off the bus and how to obey a crossing guard and watch for vehicles when crossing the street. Tell him that he should never talk to strangers. Make him memorize your phone number and address.


A few days before school starts, take your toddler to his school. Let him see his classroom, meet the teacher, walk the hallways and play on the playground. Talk to him about school and at the same time, acknowledge his fears. Assure him that you also got scared when you were little and share stories about how you made friends with your classmates. The more acquainted your child is with school, the less nervous he will be.

Preschool is a place for learning and fun. By teaching your toddler these things early, he will be able to savor this important milestone in his life.

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Managing Anxiety In Children Who Are Starting Preschool

Starting preschool is a difficult time for your toddler. New faces, a strange environment plus the thought of being away from you will truly make him nervous. While you cannot erase his first-day jitters completely, you can help ease some of his anxiety so he can welcome this big change more openly.

Recognize Your Toddler’s Fear

Being in a new environment scares toddlers. Ignoring your toddler’s anxiety or telling him everything is okay will only backfire. Get your toddler talking about his fears. Listen to what he has to say, no matter how irrational they may seem. Ask him why he feels that way. Let your little one know being scared is normal and that you understand how it feels. Remember, fears will not go away when you disregard them.

Talk About It

A few days before preschool starts, talk to your toddler. Keep your conversation casual, say, over dinner, while playing or giving him a bath. Keep your voice jolly so he knows it is something he should be happy about. Use simple sentences to explain what he can expect like who will be there, what will happen during class and the likes. The more he knows, the better he will feel.

Expose and Explore

Read books about school. Watch videos about a little boy who is preparing for his first day of class. A week before classes start, tour the school. Visit his soon-to-be room. Introduce your little one to his teacher. Play at the playground. Doing this helps him familiarize himself with the surrounding, easing some of his anxiety.


During your playtime, why not role play what happens in school? The two of you can take turns pretending to be the teacher and student. Dress the part. Use his stuffed toys as his classmates. Give him certain scenarios (e.g. introducing one ’s self, shared activities, etc.) and see how he handles them.

Increase Social Interaction

If your toddler is anxious being with other children his age, he will truly have a hard time  getting along with his classmates. Train him by organizing play dates with other children in the neighborhood. Ask your friend’s kids to join you for a picnic or a trip to the park. Enroll him in a workshop. Visit the playground more often. Even if they will not be in your toddler’s class, the exposure will help your toddler deal with unfamiliar faces once he starts school. In addition, this is an excellent way to teach your toddler important social skills such as sharing, taking turns, listening, cooperation and respect.

Teach Your Toddler How To Be Independent

Maybe the reason why your toddler is so anxious about starting preschool is because he does not know how to do things on his own. Teach him how to dress on his own, use a bathroom and to raise his hand if he has to go to the restroom. Let him eat and drink by himself.

Do Not Show Your Anxiety

Keep your emotions in check. While you may also be feeling scared for your toddler, letting him know will also increase his anxiety. If you are excited for his first day of school, your anticipation will rub off on him.

Finally, when the first day of class begins, take time to get him ready. Prepare a healthy and yummy breakfast. Walk him to his classroom. Give him a hug. Tell him mommy will be back in no time and most importantly, to enjoy.

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School Supplies Your Toddler Will Need For Starting Preschool

Starting preschool can be a nerve-wracking time for your toddler. A new environment, new routine, new faces, plus the thought of being away from you can send your child into overdrive. One way to relieve some of his fears and make him eager to start preschool is by providing him with basic school supplies.


Every child needs a backpack for carrying school supplies. Look for a backpack that is durable, has wide, padded straps, waterproof, easy to open and close and has outside pockets for storing crayons and pencils so your toddler can just grab one instead of rummaging through his bag. When choosing a design, opt for a backpack in your toddler’s favorite color or one with a simple print of his favorite cartoon character or superhero.

As much as possible, choose a backpack that comes with a tag. If unavailable, buy a bag tag so you can input important information. Include your child’s name, home address and emergency contact numbers. A piece of advice: Do not hang the tag outside of the backpack for everyone to see, attach it to the inside.

Writing and Coloring Supplies

Pencils are a must-have for school. Make sure your toddler has two so in case one of his pencils gets broken, he still has something to use. Paper is another necessity for school. Buy a pad of handwriting paper and at least 2 notebooks with red and blue lines. Of course, do not forget to stash his backpack with crayons. Do not buy the 24-piece or 64-piece crayon set, save them for your toddler’s art time at home. Get the smaller box of crayons, one that contains the 8 basic colors.

Other less essential items you may include in your little one’s backpack are glue stick, child safety scissors, bond papers and markers.

Set of Clean Clothes

Toddlers tend to be very messy. Pack an extra set of uniform (if his school has one), t-shirt, pants, underwear and socks (make sure they are weather-appropriate). This way, he does not have to endure wearing a stained or wet shirt until the end of his class.

Cleaning Items

Diapers, tissues or wet wipes and a travel-sized sanitizer will help control inevitable messes and accidents. Store them in a clear, medium-sized pouch so your little one can easily spot them.

Lunch Box

Choose a lunch box that is easy to clean, water-resistant and spacious enough to fit your toddler’s water bottle and small plastic containers. Skip lunch boxes with snaps or buttons as this will only give your toddler a hard time opening and closing it. One with a zipper closure will do.

Napping Gears

If your toddler’s preschool has a nap or rest period, pack a nap mat (if the school does not provide one), small blanket, pillow and a lovey or comfort item (e.g. his favorite stuffed animal, a t-shirt with your scent on it or your old handkerchief) to help him doze off and ease his nerves if he starts missing you.

Help your young one calm his first day jitters by providing him with the supplies mentioned above.

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How To Build A Good Relationship With Your Toddler’s Preschool Teacher

Starting preschool is a scary and exciting time for your toddler. He will need a strong circle of support for him to thrive, and in order to achieve that, you need to build an effective bond with his preschool teacher. Here is how you can do it.

Connect With The Teacher

Contact the teacher by attending a back to school event or parent-teacher meeting. Listen to what the teacher has to say and address your concerns. Or, arrange a quick conversation with the teacher at the beginning of the year. Keep it casual. Introduce yourself and your toddler to the teacher. Ask questions, share information about your toddler – his favorites, a health condition or a behaviour issue and give your contact information so she can easily talk to you about your toddler’s progress. Do not forget to thank the teacher for taking the time to talk with you. By taking these steps, you are showing the teacher that you are looking forward to working with her and that she can easily approach you if she has any concerns.


Even if you are working, you can still help. Ask your toddler’s teacher if she needs anything done such as collecting art materials for a class project and dropping them off at school. Volunteer to cut out shapes, make a collage or other tasks at home. Be a chaperone during class trips or provide extra snacks. You could also call parents about upcoming events. A small gesture goes a long way to show you care. Your toddler’s teacher will be grateful for your help and take note of your eagerness to be involved.

Know The School’s Discipline Rules

It is very important that you educate yourself with the school’s discipline policies. For instance, if the teacher uses the time-out method to discipline children and you object because that is not your discipline style, your little one will be very confused. If the school and the teacher’s philosophies do not match your own, you have to respect that.

Discuss Issues Privately

Never discuss a problem during drop-off or pick-up. Most likely, the teacher is busy saying “hi” and “goodbye” to other kids and parents. Do not talk to the teacher in front of your toddler or disrupt her in the middle of class. If you are angry with the teacher or you have a serious concern, set a meeting so the two of you can talk and resolve issues in private. Regardless of your concerns, you still have to be discreet and respect the teacher’s relationship with your toddler.

Keep In Touch

Follow up your first meeting by making an effort to stay in touch with the teacher throughout the year. Send her an e-mail, talk to her after school hours or meet with her over the weekend.


Let your toddler’s teacher know that you are very thankful that she is taking good care of your child. Compliment her for a job well done. Send notes of thanks or a card to let her know that your little one cannot get over how great she is or how much he enjoyed the painting activity she planned.

Aside from you and your husband, teachers are the people who spend the most time with your toddler. Hence, you need to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher so you can work as a team in helping your toddler succeed.

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Getting Your Toddler Ready For Preschool

Starting preschool is a major phase in your toddler’s life. It is a big step and he is afraid of not knowing what to expect. Ease out his frustrations and help him get ready for preschool with these tips.

Increase Social Interaction

If your toddler has not spent much time interacting with other kids or was not enrolled in a day care center, then most likely, he will have difficulty getting along with other children once he starts preschool. Let your toddler get used to being a part of a group by arranging play dates and other social opportunities where your little one can learn basic social skills such as respect, cooperation, listening, sharing and taking turns. Enroll him in a music class. Join a summer workshop. Organize a swimming party. Make afternoon visits to the playground more frequent.

Adjust Your Child’s Daily Routine

Mimic the schedule of his future preschool class to his daily routine. This will help him get accustomed with the changes. For instance, if he is used to eating lunch at 11:30, yet his class does not eat until noon, adjust the time he eats lunch at home. Train him a few weeks in advance and do it slowly so he will not get shocked with the changes.

Practice Independence

His fine motor skills are still developing so everything is a struggle for your toddler. Opening his lunchbox can turn into a frustrating battle and lead to a meltdown. Avoid this outrage by training your toddler how to do things on his own. Let your little one eat his breakfast and drink water by himself. Mishaps may happen at first, but eventually, he will learn it and this will help him adjust to preschool more smoothly.

Practice bathroom skills. Ease your toddler’s fears of not being able to control his bladder by training him what to do each time he needs to use the bathroom. Inform your toddler that it is okay for him to ask to go anytime. Role play it. At home, act as the teacher and have your toddler raise his hand each time he needs to go to the bathroom. Constant reminders can also help your toddler remind himself that he needs to use the toilet. He will get used to these reminders which will act as his warning signals that he needs to pee especially in the middle of class activities.

Hone Your Child’s Skills

Indulge your toddler in creative activities like drawing, coloring, finger painting and clay molding. Give him basic jigsaw puzzles and connect-the-dot picture books. These activities help hone your little one’s visual and motor skills which helps enhance his writing skills.

Read books to your toddler every day. Preschool classes have at least one reading period each day. Setting a reading time (at least 15 minutes) every day will help make this a familiar routine even before school begins. Since he is not yet an independent reader, he needs to learn how to listen. Read out loud to help improve his listening skills. Question him in between pages, ask him what he thinks will happen next or how he thinks the story will end. After which, ask him about his thoughts. This will help your toddler express his views openly.

Visit The School

Visit the school with your toddler a few weeks before he starts. Have him to take a look inside his future classroom. Introduce him to his teacher. Stay for a few minutes so he can see what goes on, who his classmates are and so on. This will help make him feel more comfortable and less anxious to start his first day of school.

Acknowledge His Fears

Talk to your toddler. Give him a sense of what to expect and ask him what he feels. Most often, the thought of starting preschool scares toddlers. The best way to ease your toddler’s fears is to be honest. Let him know what to expect - where he will be going, what he will be doing and who will be in class with him. Try watching a video together about a little boy starting preschool or read a book about it. Share your experiences. Assure him that you were also nervous at first but everything turned out to be exciting. Information will help calm his fears.

Finally, when the first day of class starts, allow extra time to get him ready. Walk him to his classroom and do not just sneak out. Give him a hug, kiss or a high five as a sign of reassurance. Tell him you will see him later and most of all, to have fun.

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Starting Preschool - How You Can Help Expand Your Toddler’s Vocabulary

A toddler who is starting preschool require knowledge of basic words, and as a parent, you are also responsible in honing your child’s vocabulary skills. Help your toddler learn new words by following the tips listed below.


Converse with your toddler every day. Carry out conversations about everything, from his new toy to the food you are cooking. Simple conversations are one of the most effective ways in increasing a toddler’s vocabulary. Ask him questions like how his day went, what games he played with other kids in the playground and so on. Correct improper usage of words but do not interrupt your little one while he is still talking. Instead, wait for him to finish and repeat what he said back to him. By doing so, he will be able to recognize his mistake and make sense of the word without bruising his ego. Never underestimate the power of conversation and information to the development of vocabulary.


Talking and listening go hand-in-hand. When having a conversation, make sure the both of you maintain eye contact. This lets him know that he has captured your complete attention. After which, you can discuss what he said. This small act builds self-confidence encouraging your little one to talk.

Read Out Loud

The best way to expose your toddler to words is through reading. Read aloud to your child during his playtime and before bed time. Read books with characters and plots, but avoid books that contain too many words your toddler is unfamiliar with as this will only make it difficult for him to understand the story. Point out pictures in the book. After every page, stop and explain new words to him and ask him what he thinks will happen next before reading the next part. This allows him to link the words he hears with what he sees in the pictures.

Use Alternate Words

Replace common words with alternate words. For instance, if you see a spider, instead of describing it tiny or small, use the adjective minuscule. Describe a mansion as gigantic instead of big or call the car an automobile. Talk to him about what you are doing. For instance, if you are preparing food, instead of using the word “frying”, use the word “sautéing” or replace the word “chopping” with “mincing”. Explain to your little one that both words have the same meaning. In this way, you help your toddler identify similarities in words which will help him develop his vocabulary to a whole new level.

Minimize Baby Talk

Converse with your toddler the way you would talk to an adult. By doing this, you help him learn new words which he can add to his vocabulary list. Learn new words and share them with your toddler. Do not forget to explain the meaning behind each word so he can understand them.

Play Games

Games allow a toddler to get creative. Make use of his playtime by holding games that can enrich his vocabulary. Unnamed games like “I Spy” and “What Sound?” are very effective in expanding a child’s words. Another favorite is the “Show and Tell Game”. Every time you go out with your toddler, have him collect something as a keepsake. It can be as simple as a flower, shell or stone. Once you are at home, encourage him to show to everybody the items he collected and tell everyone about them.

Build A Learning Environment At Home

Create a space for learning in the area where your toddler spends most of his time. Take a good look of your living area. What do you see? Are there books, board games, puzzles, art supplies, audio CD’s and a radio present aside from the PlayStation, TV and computer? Limit TV viewing since it does not allow your toddler’s brain to create his own images of the words he hear. Building a rich learning atmosphere at home can help all aspects of a toddler’s education, especially vocabulary.

Language is an integral part of preschool education and the only way your toddler can learn is by listening to the people around him. The richer and more abundant your words are, the more well developed his vocabulary will be.

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The Preschool Visit - Six Signs of A Good Preschool

Once you are sure your toddler is now ready for preschool, the next step is to do your research in finding the best curriculum that blends well with your toddler’s needs and personality. You need to start as early as possible. Round up your area and list down your choices. After you have settled up on your preschool options, it is time to see your top picks in action.

Finding the best preschool for your toddler is not always easy. As surveys show, a good 50% of parents in the United States have difficulty selecting the best schools for their children. Hence, a preschool visit is always a helpful technique to help parents decide. Peeking inside the world of preschools provides you a solid basis on how proficient a certain school is.

Six Signs For A Good Preschool

Here are six signs you need to look for when visiting preschools.

Established Ground Rules

You know you have found a good preschool when the school has clear and well-defined written regulations from its operating hours to emergency procedures. The preschool must be flexible enough to adjust the drop off and pick up points of the students. Having a strict sick-child policy is also a good sign. The preschool must hold regular check-ups and immunizations. A school that promotes healthy eating habits and is keen on providing only nutritional meals and snacks show that it is taking its responsibilities seriously. Also, a good preschool will encourage you to visit anytime, requesting you to become a part of the community by asking for your assistance during field trips, school events and so on.

Trained and Sensitive Staff

Teachers and their assistants must be friendly, engaging and responsible. A good teacher will always ask you about your toddler’s condition, his likes and dislikes as well as your method of discipline. A good school must assign one teacher for every seven students. The staff must be busy and fully occupied with the students’ activities - helping toddlers complete their tasks instead of chatting with one another.

Clean and Child Friendly Environment

During your preschool visit, always keep an eye out for the school’s cleanliness. A good preschool must be hygienic and safe, one that meets the states’ licensing requirements. A good school must have an inviting and colorful setting that is divided into different areas (a study, play, eating, library and nap time area). A preschool building that is 100% child friendly secures your toddler, making him comfortable and safe helping him function well.

Controlled Disorder

Preschool is a time for toddlers to learn and play at the same time. A school must encourage the students to freely run around, explore, search and discover. Learning exercises must be incorporated with free play as well without pressuring toddlers to perform well. Hearing a cheery and excited buzz from toddlers is a sure-fire way to know that the preschool is good.

Excellent Preschool Program

A good preschool must have a curriculum that is composed of fun stimulating exercises. The school’s day to day activities must involve plenty of artworks, role paying, storytelling, physical activities and other educational programs. Also, a good preschool allows changes in its program to encourage toddlers to try out something new to increase the students’ development and skills.

Excited Response From Your Toddler

Finally, you know you have found the best preschool for your toddler when he is happy, excited and asking for more. Your toddler’s reaction and his eagerness towards the school is the most important sign you need to watch for. When he is thrilled to start, you are secure he will get all the proper development and education he needs.

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How to Find The Best Preschool Program For Your Toddler

Once you have decided that your toddler is now ready for preschool, the next step is to find a program that best fits your toddler’s developmental needs and learning style. This can be a stressful period in your life since you have to consider a lot of factors to help you choose only the best. But, finding a preschool program that is a perfect match for you and your toddler can be less stressful when you start your search early.

When in search of the best preschool program, you have to take note of two things – the school’s curriculum and your toddler’s reaction to the school. Keep in mind that your little one needs good education without leaving the fun behind. Start your search early, be prepared and follow these simple steps:

1.) Identify your priorities.

Before starting your research, take some time to go over your toddler’s needs and demands. Does he have special needs? Is he extremely shy and still scared of being exposed to new surroundings? What particular improvements do you think your child needs the most? Remember to focus on his needs rather than your personal wants.

2.) Do your homework.


Conduct your research by utilizing different tools. Compile a list of preschool programs within your area. Ask your relatives, friends or neighbors for recommendations. Seek advice from child care consultants to help you meet the accurate learning approach for your toddler. Scan the yellow pages and newspaper ads for more information. Go online and visit the different databases of preschools in your local area.

Go Over Your Budget

The next step is to know how much you can afford. Know your budget. By doing so, you are able to narrow down your list helping you search for preschool programs that fit well within your budget.

Know How Each Program Works

  • Bank Street Program. A less structured curriculum that presents different activities for the mental, social, cognitive, physical and emotional development of toddlers. Teachers decide what to work on and when. Perfect for your toddler if he thrives on a free-form schedule.
  • High/Scope Program. Preschool program that focuses on toddlers’ active interaction with people, activities and events. Students in this program are encouraged to make their own choices while the teachers are trained to support the students’ decision making. It covers all aspects of toddler development so toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities get to advance in their own pace.
  • Home Based Program. Recommended for toddlers needing special care and attention, a home based preschool program is prepared by child experts or by parents. However, getting the right curricula for this program can be difficult.
  • International Preschool Curriculum. A world leader in bringing child experts together to produce a rigorous and structured early childhood education making it one of the most outstanding preschool programs across the United States.
  • Montessori Program. Focuses on five major areas – cultural subjects, language, mathematics, sensory awareness and practical living. Best for toddlers who prefers a hands-on learning environment. Personal attention is given specifically to toddlers with special difficulties (e.g. ADD, hyperactivity, psychological needs, etc.).
  • Waldorf Program. A group-oriented preschool program with a home-like environment. Encourages creative free play providing toddlers with countless opportunities to hone their skills. Perfect if your toddler thrives on order and consistency.

3.) Visit and interview.

Once you have narrowed down your search, make an appointment to interview the staff. Keep in mind that a good preschool program needs to have well-defined policies and procedures. Tour the school and check if every area is child friendly. Observe how they instil their discipline techniques. Watch and observe how the children interact with their peers, how they respond to their teacher. Are the students happy, active and cheerful? Does the teacher provide structure? Is she warm and welcoming? When you see the children are happy, then there is a good chance your toddler will have fun in this environment.

4.) Hold a trial period.

To try it out, let your toddler accompany you during your next visit. Look for natural responses and interaction. See how your little one socializes with the staff and how they respond to him. Afterwards, ask him if he likes the school, his reaction to the setting and the people and if he wants to go back again.

When your toddler had a great day and is asking for more, then you know you have found the perfect preschool program for him.

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Advantages of Preschool

Sending your toddler to preschool is a very important issue. After all, you only want the best for your little one. Over the years, the development of toddlers who went to preschool have showed such positive results – talents were discovered and skills were fostered. According to studies, going to preschool gives long-term benefits that last well into adulthood. Preschool education prepares toddlers mentally, emotionally and socially providing toddlers long lasting benefits.

Pros of Preschool to Toddlers

If you have been constantly debating whether to send your toddler to preschool or keep him at home for the mean time, you might want to consider the following advantages of preschool to toddlers:

A preschool can…

Provide Your Toddler A Solid Foundation For Academic Learning

Toddlers who went to preschool have a more structured basis with their education making them ready for the coming school years. Since academic programs are offered in the school’s curriculum, your toddler’s mind gains adequate exposure helping him develop his memory skills, solve simple math problems, enhance verbal skills and improve his reading. The basic lessons and fun activities integrated in the preschool’s program gives your toddler an excellent head start.

Ensure Proper Development

There are a lot of fun activities your toddler can engage in once enrolled in a preschool. Indoor and outdoor games, stage plays, singing, dancing, arts and crafts, storytelling and free play are great activities that can guarantee your toddler’s development is optimized. This not only educates him but helps him unleash and discover hobbies and hidden talents. It not only improves him intellectually but as well as fine tunes his cognitive, motor and fine motor skills making him a well-rounded individual.

Improve Social Interaction and Collaboration

The best thing about preschools is that it allows your toddler to be exposed to different kinds of personalities. Each child is different so your little one learns how to interact with his peers accordingly. This improves his socialization skills. He discovers the value of communication, taking turns, sharing, listening and following simple rules and directions. Spending time with children his age also helps him become emotionally mature. It minimizes the occurrences of tantrums and aggressive behaviour.

Increase Independence and Confidence

Going to a preschool can help your toddler easily adapt and adjust to changes. The time your toddler spends away from you helps him feel comfortable to engage in activities on his own. He learns how to solve problems and make decisions by himself resulting for him to be more welcoming when placed in new environments. Your little one also learns how to handle himself even when you are away. Once he realizes he can manage on his own, his level of confidence is boosted making him a more positive person.

Help Him Broaden His View of The World

The more your toddler explores, surveys and sees, the more he will learn. At preschool, the prospect of unearthing new things is limitless. He gets to discover and pick up more things that are outside his little world.

Give Your Toddler A Safe Abode

Face it, the thought of leaving your toddler at home in the care of a babysitter so you can go to work scares you. A preschool can give you peace of mind, an assurance that your toddler is in a safe and secure place and that he is watched over by a reliable and professionally trained staff.

Sending your toddler to preschool is a great step towards your toddler’s journey of never ending learning. The benefits are boundless molding him into a happy, smart and knowledgeable human being.

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How to Know If Your Child Is Ready For Preschool

Once your toddler hits the age of 3, he can now start going to preschool. But, it does not necessarily mean he is ready for this new phase in his life. Deciding whether your toddler should attend preschool is an important matter. His readiness to attend preschool relies on how well he is progressing.

For toddlers, preschool serves as the stepping stone to discover and learn new things. It is where they can grow skills and nurture their talents. However, your toddler needs to be emotionally, mentally, physically and socially competent to help him actively participate in the structured educational program of the school. Here are some questions to help you gauge if your toddler is ready for preschool.

Question # 1: Is he used to spending time away from you?

Attachment is the number one issue when it comes to sending toddlers to preschool. If your child has been cared by a nanny, a babysitter or has spent some time away from you in the past, then most likely he is ready for school. But if your toddler is with you most of the time, it is best to start introducing the idea of being separated from you by holding a sleepover in his grandparents’ house over the weekend. Or you may start enrolling him in a daycare center where he can socialize with other toddlers. The key here is to make small adjustments to give him time to feel comfortable and secure when you are away.

Question # 2: Can he understand and follow simple instructions?

During his preschool years, your toddler is expected to follow simple rules and directions (e.g. picking up the trash inside the classroom, arranging books, etc.). If you think he is still having a hard time, train him at home. Give him the responsibility of putting the plates in the sink, putting dirty laundry inside the hamper or let him pick up his scattered toys.

Question # 3: Is he comfortable around other people?

If your toddler is used to having playmates or loves participating in group activities, then he will not have any difficulty interacting with other people. Enroll him in a play group or invite your neighbors’ kids over to your house. The more your toddler is used to having people around him the easier he can adapt and socialize with his peers.

Question # 4: Can he do things on his own?

Preschool requires your toddler to be independent. Learning basic skills like hand washing after drawing and eating on his own are a must. Also, he must be able to focus and concentrate on his work especially during activities that require your toddler’s full attention. He needs to solve things on his own. Leave him for an hour and let him entertain himself. In this way, he learns how to play solo and the need to ask for help with everything is minimized.

 Question # 5: Can he recognize the alphabet and numbers?

Knowing the basics will make it easier for your toddler to master and improve his language, reading and writing. You can do simple learning activities at home by using flashcards, jigsaw puzzles and coloring books to help him familiarize fundamental lessons.

Question # 6: Is he potty trained?

It is important your toddler is potty trained before he enters preschool since most schools require potty training. If he has strongly mastered it, then he is good to go. However, if he is not yet ready, do not force him. Putting him under too much pressure will only make the situation worse.

Question # 7: Does he have a fixed schedule?

Toddlers thrive on routine. Most preschools follow the same practices of toddlers. If he is used to having a regular schedule (e.g. playtime, lunch, nap time, snack time and outdoor play) then he is ready to start preschool.

Question # 8: Is he physically fit?

Enrolling him in a preschool means a lot of rigorous activities will take place. Check your toddler’s health condition. He needs stamina to help him get through the day. If he has health issues, then it is best to keep him at home for now to reduce his chances of acquiring infections.

Starting preschool depends on how ready your toddler is. If he is fully prepared and comfortable with the idea, then it is best to let him start. But, if he is not yet ready, never rush him. Instead, train your toddler to help him get ready for the next school year.

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August 2020
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