How to Help Toddlers Transition to Preschool: 12 Steps
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Help make the transition to preschool easier for your child.

Your baby is growing up. If you haven't already, soon you’ll be dropping him off at preschool. You may not be the only one who sheds a few tears the first day you say bye. Starting preschool can be a tough and scary transition for toddlers. As a mom, you can help make the transition easier.


  1. 1
    Talk to your daughter before preschool starts. Tell her what she can expect. Tell her about the new friends she’ll make at preschool and how much she will learn. Tell her she will play on a playground and complete fun projects.
  2. 2
    Introduce activities at home that your son is likely to do in preschool. Have him color at home if he doesn’t already, trace letters and cut paper.
  3. 3
    Play pretend preschool at home. Take turns playing child and teacher as you do preschool activities such as reading stories, having Circle Time, taking naps and playing outside.
  4. 4
    Go to your public library or local bookstore and find books about preschool. Share those books over the summer before school starts.
  5. 5
    Practice important skills with your daughter that she may have to do on her own the first day of school. These might include unzipping or zipping her backpack, taking off her coat and putting it on a hook, or fastening her shoes.
  6. 6
    Visit your daughter’s preschool and her class if possible. Stop by and visit her teacher if she’s available. This helps make the first day a little more familiar.
  7. 7
    Plan a play date with other students in the class if you know the parents.
  8. 8
    Calm your own nerves. Kids pick up on how their parents feel. If you’re nervous or anxious, your son will sense that.
  9. 9
    Listen to your daughter’s worries. Take the time to answer her concerns and reassure her.
  10. 10
    Take regressive behaviors lightly during the transition. It’s not unusual for children to move back in one area as they move forward in another. Examples are bed wetting, becoming clingy or withdrawn, or asking you to dress him.
  11. 11
    Introduce your daughter to her teacher on the first day if you didn’t already meet the teacher. If you did, reintroduce your daughter. Take a step back after introductions so the teacher can take the lead.
  12. 12
    Plan a farewell routine that you can keep throughout the year. Stay consistent with that routine to help your son feel comfortable. It might be a hug and then saying, “Have a good day. I love you. I’ll be back to pick you up this afternoon.” If your child has trouble with your leaving, it’s okay to stay for a bit on the first day, but then say good-bye and leave. It may be difficult, but a prolonged good-bye will not make things better.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Books about preschool

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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