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Ten things your kids should know before preschool

Take it from the experts, I’m a preschool teacher and I asked my teammates, what do they wish the kids knew before starting school. Here are their answers…

Exposure to school supplies

You don’t have to teach your kids how to use school supplies, in fact, some supplies are developmentally inappropriate. But just some experience with pencil, markers, scissors, crayons, paint, glue, and paper. Let them touch the supplies, try them, use them in the ways they can.

How and when to say please and thank you

This is a simple one and one your child won’t get right every time. That’s okay, but by modeling and gentle reminders, it’s a kind thing to do to say please and thank you.

How to be kind

Speaking of kind, it’s good to tell your kids what things are kind. Point out to them when you or they do something kind. Look for it as you’re out running errands or hanging out with the family. Pay attention to it and take notice. Show them that it is important to be kind.

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How to ask for something without grabbing it

Before kids can talk they will grab at everything. It’s a new skill to grasp and hold and reach and for 1-2 year olds, that’s all good. Once they can talk, start teaching them to ask for things instead of grab. “Can I please have another snack?” This will be an excellent skill when they start playing with other kids. A skill they will definitely need and use daily in preschool.

How to go to the bathroom by themselves

If you can, wait until they are ready and don’t force it. If their body is ready, I think their mind will follow and it will all be easier. Once they get out of diapers/pull-ups teach them all the parts of going to the bathroom: knowing when to go, managing clothes (buttons and zippers), pulling up and pulling down clothes, wiping, flushing, and washing hands. Your preschool teacher will love you for it.

What might work when they get mad or sad

All feelings are okay. Not all behaviors are okay. Teach them safe ways to get out their mad and sad feelings. Talking, moving, jumping, counting, breathing, taking a break, getting a hug, closing their eyes, putting their head down . . . honestly anything that keeps them safe and all others safe are okay. Give them some coping skills for these big feelings. They will feel them in preschool and if they have some tools in the toolbox to deal with them, it will help everyone.

How to listen to directions and that teachers are there to help

Just talk about school. Tell them what goes on. Talk about how important it is to listen to the teacher. Tell them the teacher has all the fun things to do and you need listen to them. Be real too, and let them know that school isn’t all fun, but it’s important to learn all the things, even the boring things.

How to wash their hands by themselves

They will need to do this many times a day and it will make the teacher’s life so much easier if they can do it themselves. Also, reminding kids to wash hands after blowing their nose, having their fingers in the mouth, and of course, after using the bathroom.

How to manage their own clothes

Buttons, hooks, zippers, velcro. Practice all of these. They may not have the fine motor skills or finger strength, but at least show them how it is done and encourage them to try. If they can’t manage their own clothes and shoes, don’t send them in those clothes and shoes to school. Elastic waistbands, shirts with no buttons, and shoes with velcro are perfect for school.

How to open their lunchbox

I highly recommend buying a Planetbox lunch box. These stainless steel lunchboxes are PERFECT. They are easy to open, easy to fill, and easy to clean. The food stays separate in the containers and THEY LAST FOREVER. I teacher three year olds that use them and fifth graders at our still use them. It’s a lot to invest, but you will never need another lunchbox. I bought two for my daughter, so I don’t have to worry about cleaning it each night before it gets packed. I put the dirty one in the dishwasher and have the next one ready to fill. (Although, I’d love it! I don’t get a commission for recommending these lunchboxes. I just love them and 100% recommend them.) If you sign up for their email list, you’ll get coupons very frequently.

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