Get set for preschool
When summer winds down back-to-school preparations are beginning, even for parents with young preschoolers. Finding the best childcare options, preparing children for starting at or returning to daycare or kindergarten, and re-establishing those daily routines that will help keep the whole family organized are only some of the ways families with young children are getting ready as the busy fall season approaches.
“Back-to-school time is not only about preparing the children for the first day of day care or school. It’s about getting the entire family ready and everybody working together on setting up and following new routines that will minimize the surprises and reduce the likelihood of time crunch and stress for both the parents and kids,” says Chaya Kulkarni, child development and parenting expert with Invest in Kids, a national charitable organization dedicated to supporting the healthy development of children aged 0-5.
Invest in Kids’ experts offer these tips for back-to-school:
Finding and Choosing Childcare
Consider both home and centre-based care and the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a decision. Compare many, have all your questions answered and meet the educators who will care for your child. Make sure that the child care setting ensures your child’s health and safety. Look at the childcare environment and whether it will provide your child with comfortable and organized spaces to play, explore and interact, and a healthy balance of outdoor and indoor activities.
Preparing Your Child for Childcare
Help your child transition into a new childcare routine by telling him or her in advance what to expect. If possible, arrange advance visit(s), make introductions to other children, and spend some time with your child at the place of care when arriving and departing to help him or her ease in and out.
Provide your child with a sense of comfort and security by letting him or her take something that will be comforting (e.g., a toy, blanket or picture, etc.), call and talk to your child during the day, touch base with your caregiver daily, and establish a timely pick-up routine.
If your child is adjusting to a new day care, be supportive and encouraging, explore the new place of care together, get involved with new groups and activities, and help your child find the playgroups and activities he or she always enjoyed.
Preparing for Kindergarten
Help your child build important learning skills by reading, telling stories, playing games, writing words and letters and playing with others. Introduce routines and rules that will be in place once school starts and that will help your child be rested and enjoy the learning experiences.
If your child is anxious and doesn’t want to go to school, talk to him or her about his or her concerns, but explain that missing school is not an option. Approach your child’s teacher for help and advice.
Self-Care Tips for Busy Parents
To help parents make the most out of their time and to maintain balance in their lives, try selecting a childcare option that is near your workplace to cut down on the required travel time.
Implement morning routines such as eating breakfast at the same time, packing lunch and other daily necessities ahead of time. Make time for relaxation and take on only those activities that you can handle to avoid over scheduling and stress.
Go to www.investinkids.ca/tips for a Parents’ Back-to-School Survival Guide