Starting preschool is a big step for both the child and the parents, it can be scary, even frightening. However, you can prepare your little one to deal with this new life in advance and while doing so, you’ll mentally prepare yourself too. Start by asking yourself; what should a 4-year-old know before starting school?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer, we’ve got you covered in this department. Read the detailed checklist of essentials your child needs to learn to excel at school.
So, What Should a 4-Year-Old Know Before Starting School?
Adjusting Without You
Till now, your baby was relying on you for every big and small thing in their life. They didn’t know there are people (teachers) besides mom and dad that they can trust and be comfortable with. This is mostly aimed at kids that never spent time in a daycare. So starting a new chapter of life at a new place with new faces, especially when yours won’t be one of them can be challenging.
So you need to build them up for this – preferably for the first few weeks of preschool; those are the toughest ones. Start by leaving them for a few hours with someone they’re already familiar with like your siblings or parents.
Keep increasing the duration as days pass building up to entire mornings and afternoons – this will help them get comfortable with spending long durations of time without you. Also, when it’s time to leave your little one at school, practice self-control as it can be equally challenging for parents to leave their baby at a new place for the first time. Just trust their teachers to handle them – they do this every year.
Putting Their Feelings into Words
Whatever your child is feeling in class, they should be able to translate it into words, even if they’re broken or incomplete, which should be enough for the teacher to understand. There can be instances when your child is not feeling well, wants to eat, or go outside but not being able to tell that to the teacher can be frustrating for them.
Of course, you can understand every fiber of your child’s body, for a teacher, it won’t be as easy especially when there are many other kids to handle. So encourage them to speak in sentences of 5-7 words like ‘I’d like to drink some water please’ or ‘please help me with this number/word’ and so on.
Before starting preschool, your child will have a lot of things lingering in their mind, and who’s going to be there with them may be one of their top concerns. This is the time to tell them they’ll be having fun in school along with other kids of their age. Encourage them to be social with those kids, take part in all activities of the class, share their toys with other children and be polite and helpful towards their class fellows. The best way to do this is to arrange several play dates a few with other kids before school starts so your child can practice these skills beforehand.
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Recognizing Letters & Numbers
Academics are the most integral part of early learning. Although your child will know about A-Z alphabets, and counting to up to 50 by the end of school, help them recognize things in advance. This will help them kick-start their learning.
Whenever you’re watching TV, playing games, or reading a book with them, point out random letters and see if your kid can guess them. They don’t have to know the counting or ABC in sequence; that’ll be done in the school, but they should be able to recognize some of them.
There are many interactive games on the internet and you can also buy several charts to make early learning easy for your child before he/she goes to preschool. This will ensure they don’t stay behind in the class.
Eating & Table Manners
Even if your 4-year old won’t be eating at school, there’s a chance they’ll be served some snacks. You don’t want them to lose their self-esteem when they cannot hold the fork right while their class fellows are eating everything with ease.
So, teach some of the basics like using a spoon, plastic fork, putting straw inside the juice box, opening snack packs, and using a tissue to wipe their face and hands, and so on.
Identifying & Sorting Objects, Shapes, & Colors
Your child should be able to sort, differentiate and organize different objects, shapes, and colors. They don’t have to be very accurate every time, but familiar enough to get most of the things right. These are critical foundational skills that your child will need to do well in the classroom, especially when different coloring and sorting games are being played.
If they are familiar with the concept, they’ll go past the learning curve faster and develop interest in learning more. You can help your child with this by asking them about the shapes of different objects around you or when you’re outside. Do the same with colors but also get them paint sets and coloring books to experiment with and learn on their own.
Using the Potty
Although this depends on the preschool as some don’t even require your child to be potty-trained, you need to do this for your kid, not for the school’s requirements. This will save them from a world of embarrassment and keep them from being called names because they relieved themselves in the pants once.
Firstly, teach your child to communicate with the teacher whenever they need to go, make it clear that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Then, teach them how to clean themselves and not rely on anyone else.
However, train them for potty with gentleness and patience, do not hurry them or else they may start getting anxious whenever they need to go, which can result in hiding it from the teachers.
We’re believe not you know the answer to ‘what should a 4-year-old know before starting school?’ Just make sure to start their grooming and teaching process a few months before the preschool.
Be gentle and patient with your little one – he/she will start picking up things quickly. Also, keep everything in regular practice so they don’t forget anything when it’s finally time to attend school.