By Kelly J. Riibe of familyfootnote.com
Dear Preschool Parent:
It is beyond thrilling that your little one will be joining us for a year of finger painting, booger eating, and circle time. And believe me, we teachers will meet your excitement with bright eyes and exaggerated speech, but only if you do your part. Therefore, before the first day of school is upon us, please double check the list below to make sure that your child is in fact ready for the start of what we hope will be a successful preschool career.
1. Your child should know how to get dressed. While seeing your 3-year-old daughter parade around in her booby shirt or constantly having your 4-year-old son ask for help pulling up his underwear may appear to be adorable…it is nothing but a nuisance at school. We need your children to be able to put on their own coats, shoes, pants, trendy headbands, friendship bracelets, etc. Birthday suits are only cute at home.
2. Your child should be on a schedule already. We get it, you have a “go with the flow” youngster. You’re new age. You’re so hip. However, your ability to free style, while great on the weekends, should be tempered for modern day survival. Please know and remember that our classroom has a schedule and your kiddo will benefit from understanding what to expect each school day, be it nap time, bathroom breaks, or the always popular fine dining snack experience of vanilla wafers with chocolate pudding.
3. Your child should be able to use his/her words and ask for help. Constant whining, grunting, or screaming will be met with blank, dismissive stares by their teachers. They will also probably be gossiped about during lunchtime because your son or daughter needs to be able to ask for help. Your child must speak in a way that can be translated by a human being. They should not be in the habit of making sounds more in line with that of a monster, alien, or mutant baby.
4. Your child should already be elevated to pro status in the bathroom. Potty training is a prerequisite for our preschool admissions process. We know we aren’t Harvard, but your child still needs to be able to wipe their own bottom well (including poop). If your little guy could also give a good pee pee shake after going #1, all the better. There is no extra credit for good aim, but we do keep score in our heads. We also know that accidents happen, but if they are going to be a routine, you may need to consider some serious potty training boot camp so your little one can get a handle on proper toilet bowl etiquette.
5. Your child needs to be getting all biological needs met at home. We are talking about quality sleep and the most important meal of the day. Generally a child should be getting about ten hours of sleep at night, so make sure you have your bedtime routine down cold. A consistent nighttime pattern goes a long way in eliminating grouchy bear moments in the morning. Your child also needs to get a filling breakfast before leaving for preschool; a growling tummy is a distraction to your child and also the classmate sitting next to him during the morning’s show and tell time.
If you are reading this checklist and constantly rolling your eyes or getting a nervous feeling of morning sickness unrelated to pregnancy, you may want to consider red-shirting your little one. Remember there is always next year!
Your Child’s Best Chance (for kindergarten and life in general)
About the Author
Kelly J. Riibe has three kiddos, a husband, a dog, and a mildly curbed addiction to Diet Coke. Keeping busy for her involves staying home with her children and also finding work as a freelance writer. She has been published in Nebraska Magazine, Heels on a Farm, and is the co-writer for the blog: www.familyfootnote.com.