When it comes to raising your preschooler, doing fun activities and games is as much a learning experience as it is fun. You can buy various programs but those are often offered as a monthly subscription or multiple books. Why do this when there are often free alternatives that will prepare your preschooler for school on an educational and social level?
Getting your little one ready for the classroom can be daunting not just for you but for your little one as well. Start early speaking to your little ones about teachers and what role they play in their lives. If your little one is used to having a babysitter then the transition may not be that difficult.
Set up a make believe classroom with your little one and his/her toys and talk about the importance of being a good listener and how to raise their hand if they have a question or to ask their teacher before doing something like using the restroom.
Make a Visit to the Library
The library can be a wealth of information about school for your little one. Look for books about school, about teachers and that tell the process of going to school in an easy to read and understand format
During the summer check with your local library as some offer preschool prep classes for parents and give away free activity books and reading books to work on with your little one. This is also a good time to let your child interact with other children in the area that may be in their class and to get a jump-start on their basic socialization skills.
Set-up Play Dates
Preschool is almost like one big group play date for kids. Encourage correct behavior among their classmates by meeting up with moms and dads in the area and arrange a play date. This helps with socialization as well understanding the importance of sharing and playing nicely with others. Take outings during the play date as this will be a great time to explain the “buddy system” and the importance of holding hands when on outings.
Join mommy groups as this will help with prepping the kids on how to stay quiet in groups and to sit together without getting to rowdy or overly excited.
The biggest step your little one will have to take is learning the information put before them in preschool. When you sign your little one up for preschool, the teacher will provide you with a list of lessons they will cover and this is the perfect time to use this as a guideline for what you need to cover over the summer before they start.
To help the kids learn about the letters of the alphabet, use an index card a place a label on everyday items around the house. Place the letter first and have it so they can turn the card over to view the word. You can create flash cards that will cover numbers as well as words. Make it a daily routine to go over them until the start of school.
Tip – Label items that are things they use on a regular basis and once they understand those move to labeling items they do not use daily.
Avoid spending money on activity pages because you can print out these pages yourself at home. There are numerous websites that feature activity pages for pre-school and higher-grade children for free.
The best way to find these free activity pages is to do a Google search for “Free preschool activity pages”. Talk to your child’s school and find out if they could provide you with some activity pages that can help your child along during the break.
Play Dress Up to Prepare
Another way to get preschoolers ready for school is to have a practice run on how the morning routine will be. Have them place their backpack in a special area of the home and help prepare their lunch. Take it as far as leaving the house and driving to their school to “drop them off”. This would be different if you are having them picked up by the bus.
Make Good Use of Open House
This is a very important time to let your child see the classroom and the teacher and for you to ask any questions you may have.
This is going to be a big transition for both you and your child. As a parent, preparing them for the road ahead does not mean you have to spend money on programs and workbooks. Increase your opportunities for learning around the home, print out your own workbooks and activity pages and you will have your child on the path to doing great things through his/her school career.
About the Author:
Celeste Whitehead is an independent contractor, freelance writer and owner of the blog, Organic Mommy Today. When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children, you can find Celeste contributing to the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving advice.