How to prepare my toddler for preschool. 10 tips for parents

How to prepare your Toddler for Preschool

Is your child ready for pre-school? Are you thinking of sending your little one to preschool?

Starting preschool is a big milestone in a toddler’s life. It’s a hard time for both the parents as well as the kids.

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What is the best age for starting preschool?

There is no best age, most schools take up kids from the age of 2 to 4 years.

But as they say age is just a number. Children won’t be magically ready for school even if they are older than this.

The first day of school comes with sto much of excitement, nervousness and anxiety for both the parents as well as the kids.

Some kids adjust easily within days and some kids may take up weeks or even months to settle.

How ready is your child?

  • Is your child potty trained?
  • Does your child follow the instructions?
  • Can your child explain what he/she wants?
  • Have they stayed away from you?
  • Can your child interact with other kids?
  • Is your toddler’s nap time conflicting with the school hours?

If you answered yes to all or most of the questions, you can start sending your child to a preschool.

If you answered no to most of the questions don’t worry even you can send your child to the preschool as the schools and teachers are quite capable of handling the kids and enhancing their capabilities. Some schools offer specific classes for potty training and language development as well. Some preschools are available throughout the day. If your toddler takes a nap, make sure you check the timings accordingly.

In both the cases, do expect some whinning and crying during the initial days. Kids often behave differently in unfamiliar environment.

Check out How to choose a nursery for your child plus free printable checklist

So what can you do to help your toddler during this transition phase?

How to prepare my toddler for Preschool?

1. Gear up mommies

Before getting your toddler ready for preschool, parents (especially mother’s) should be emotionally ready too. It’s hard not only for the baby but also for the parents to send the baby away into an entirely new environment.

Moreover all babies cry for the initial few days until unless they have a habit of staying in a daycare since childhood. Some may cry for few hours, others may cry for a day or two and a few can cry for weeks or even months. It can be nerve wracking to see your baby crying. So stay strong.

Check your reactions, kids can easily sense your emotions. If you are confident yourself then it’s going to resonate in your toddler too.

2. Read out books

Make your toddler excited about preschool by reading out books. Here are a few options to check.

Our picks

3. Role Play

Playing Preschool with your child, doing fun activities like art and crafts . It will make them well verse with these activities hence they will adapt easily to the new environment.

You can have snack time, circle time, story time like at school. You can also include learning Activities like colors, numbers, shapes, alphabets etc.


4. Create a routine

Kids love routine. If you have already created a schedule at home, it will be easier for your toddler to tune into the Preschool curriculum.

Once you have finalized the school , you can start similar Activities like art and crafts, shape, numbers, alphabets recognition at home during the time you are planning to send your child to the preschool.

5. Go for Playdates

Taking your child to Playdates can help them get accustomed to the school environment.

6. Encourage some solo play

Solo play is important for overall emotional development, making them self dependent and self reliant. Also it’s important to get them into a habit of staying a bit away from you.

7. Listen to songs about Preschool

Since my toddler is an auditory learner, it’s all about music and rhymes in our house.

Our favorite one is First day of school from “Cocomelon”

8. Shop for school essentials

Buy a backpack, a bottle and a lunch bag. Pick these with your child if possible.

It will give them a sense of independence and boost their confidence. Plus the thrill of being able to use new things would drive them to the school.

9. Talk and Prepare well

” Preparation is half the battle won”

Start a conversation with your toddler regarding going to the school weeks before the actual day.

Let them know about the school functioning and curriculum. Also tell them they will meet new friends and teachers over there.

Listen to their fears and worries. Reinforce confidence.

You can try telling a fun story about preschool.

10. Make some cool Preschool Crafts

A first day of school tag or a school bus to get your little toddler excited.

What to expect on the first day of School and how to manage the anxiety?

The first day of preschool can give a bout of jitters to both the parents as well as kids. It is okay to feel nervous, excited as well as anxious.

Being prepared can help ease the anxiety a bit. Here are some tips!

1. Don’t rush things in the morning

Sleep early to wake up on time or a bit earlier. Plan in advance. Keep everything ready to keep the morning free. Pack the backpack, keep other documents ready. If you are giving lunch ,it’s better to plan the meal beforehand. Keep the clothes ironed and shoes and other stuff in place.

2. Reach relatively early

Reaching earlier can save you from the queue. Keep documents and a pen in hand to complete the paperwork on time. This will give you and your child some extra time to explore the school.

3. Take your child’s favourite object from home

Most of the toddlers have one or more favourite toy, a blanket that they simply adore. If the school allows it’s better to take their favorite thing. It can provide your little one some comfort while they are away from home.

4. Go to the school together

It’s important to drop your kids on the first day. While commuting you can talk to your child about what is going to come up next. Reinforce that you will come to pick them up at the given time and they are in a safe place. Be cheerful about school. Your happiness can boost up the confidence of your little one. Stay at school with them for not more than 15-20 minutes. Explore the surroundings and show them there are so many fun things to do.

5. Say a “Good” goodbye

Keep goodbyes short and sweet.

It’s easier to sneak without letting them know. But that won’t help. A goodbye kiss or a hug can help them cope up with the new schedule and environment. Don’t peek through the window even if your toddler is crying badly.

6. Pick up on time

It’s important to reach on time for pick up. This will help your toddler understand the routine. Also your kid can get frustrated on seeing the other kids leave.


Most of the kids will cry on the first day of starting preschool as it is a very new experience for them. Preparation can help ease the nervousness and anxiety. It can take a while for your toddler to fully adjust to their new routine. All you need to do is stay calm after all they need to go to school anyway.

Liked the post? Don’t forget to share it with your friends who are sailing in the same boat.

If you have already been through this , please let us know your experience in the comments section below.

Dr Surabhi Mahajan Malhotra

Dr Surabhi is a “Dentist” and a “Blogger”. Being a mom of one, she believes quality of the relationships determines the quality of life. She is passionate about health, sports and parenting.

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30 thoughts on “How to prepare your Toddler for Preschool”

  1. Reading your post made me go down the memory lane. Seems like just yesterday that I was prepping up for my kids pre-school. This checklist would have been very helpful.

  2. This is a great guide. Some really helpful tips to help parents and children through this emotional time.

  3. We prepare to start nursery in September and we are very excited! Thank you for sharing this post!

  4. All these steps and stages in our kids lifes are so important. It’s never a waste of time preparing all those steps as thoroughly as possible. Very inspiring post.

  5. This post brings back nice memories when my girls were at that stage. Now my older one is ready to move on her own.

  6. Starting preschool is such an exciting and momentous occasion! When children are 3-years-old, they are no longer toddlers. They are “big kids” ready to start preschool. Thank you for these tips!

    1. Even adults sometimes get nervous getting into new surroundings. I agree with you about how important it is to prepare kids for pre school. And these are very beneficial tips on jow yo exactly do that. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. What great tips on how to introduce preschool to a toddler. Also these are great hacks for parents as well.

  8. These are great tips to preparing a toddler. We have a newborn and I will definitely use these tips to prepare him for preschool, when the time comes!

  9. Love this tips I don’t think I will ever bee emotionally prepared for it. I do need to encourage my son to do more solo play he’s not that good at it.

  10. frypartyoffive

    I am past the preschool stage now. My triplets will be in second grade this year! These are great tips, though!

  11. Cristina Petrini

    It may seem strange, I’m not a mom and I don’t even think I will in a short time, but I’m so passionate about pedagogy and growth psychology that I love reading and following blogs of moms like yours!

      1. This is usually a very emotional time for both parents and kids, therefore tips and ideas like these are much-needed appreciated. Thank you for a beautiful post.

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