While many families enroll their infants in center-based care from day one, many families choose to hire nannies, ask grandparents to look after their kids, or delegate one parent to stay at home. When your toddler approaches preschool age without having experience in a childcare center, you may grow concerned about her ability to socialize with kids her age or become accustomed to an environment where she is not the only little one in the room! But you can work on socializing your child during the toddler years so that her entry into preschool feels like a manageable transition.
Every stay-at-home parent or nanny should become familiar with local activities for kids, and take children regularly to participate in storytime at the library, music class at the community center, or just a morning of free play at the playground. The Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center in Boynton Beach is a great example of a place where your child can learn and play with other kids in a stimulating environment, as great preparation for preschool.
At preschool, your child will be surrounded by the same kids, day after day and week after week. He’ll build friendships and learn the habits and manners of the kids around him. Before enrolling him, setting up a weekly playdate with kids of your child’s age. Seeing the same children on a regular basis will teach your child a bit about building relationships with other children.
Take Her with You!
Parents often cringe at the thought of taking their kids with them to the doctor’s office, the grocery store, or out to eat. Introducing your child into grown-up situations can be tough, as toddlers don’t always want to sit when told or stay quiet! But giving your child multiple opportunities to learn how to behave in a variety of scenarios, some of which will require a bit of impulse control and patience, is great practice for preschool, where she will need to learn to wait her turn and share with others.
When looking into preschools, ask the advice of preschool teachers and administrative staff. Our center’s staff has been introducing children into the new environment of center-based care for many years, and can help you to figure out creative ways to socialize your child and get her used to the types of everyday situations she’ll encounter when she begins school for the first time!