Advice For Parents of Preschool-bound Kids?
As I dropped my oldest daughter off for her first day of preschool many years ago, I was overwhelmed. She, without a care in the world, stepped into the unknown without looking back. I on the other hand was a complete train wreck.
It was not the leaving her that bothered me; I had painstakingly chosen a highly recommended preschool full of teachers who would love the heck out of her. It was not the longing to keep my baby from growing up; she had been so eager to go to preschool, simply seeing how excited it made her erased that concern. No, I was overwhelmed in a way I had not prepared for. Five minutes into her preschool career and I already felt I had failed her. As I filled out the forms her school provided, I was stumped when they asked how I had prepared her for preschool. Prepared her? I didn’t know I was supposed to prepare my 3-year-old. I thought that’s what they were there for?
I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary to prepare her. We didn’t spend hours working on letters or flashcards or number recognition. Had I failed to work with her enough? Was she at a disadvantage because all of her fellow preschoolers had parents who had successfully prepared their children?
After a few deep breaths I looked around at the eager 3-year-olds plopping themselves down for circle time. My daughter was engaged in conversation, following directions and as eager to learn as the children surrounding her. It occurred to me that I was looking at the question wrong. Aside from a possible lesson on the importance of not consuming paste, my daughter did not need formal preparation for preschool.
She needed a mother that loved her and freely showed that love. She needed a mother that read to her every night, even when she was exhausted and at her wits end. She needed a mother who encouraged her to use her imagination and who joined her child for an afternoon tea party with Mr. Bunny.
I was that mother. Not all the time and certainly not every day, but often enough that when my daughter walked through the doors that first day she was ready. Because simply cuddling up next to your child with a good book is often just as effective in preparing your child for preschool as hours spent drilling them.
I’m curious to know: Do you think that’s enough? What advice do you have for moms prepping for preschool? Share that advice and KinderCare will choose one lucky participant and make a donation in their name to the Reach Out And Read chapter of their choice!