Summer is almost here, and your preschooler is going to have to adjust to a new schedule without school. It seems like just yesterday you were figuring out how to make preschool goodbyes run more smoothly, and here you are, already preparing for the summer months. While you may be looking forward to longer days and sunshine, transitions aren’t always easy for children.
Your child will be leaving the weekly structure of preschool, and will have to say goodbye to teachers and friends. While the pool may be a fun replacement, it doesn’t mean difficult feelings won’t surface as you go through the transition of school to summer. Use these transition strategies for preschoolers to travel happily together from May into June.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
The school year was largely a success because you followed a predictable routine. Up at 7:00. Go potty. Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Gather school supplies. Out the door at 8:00. Heading into the summer, you may be tempted to abandon such a strict routine. It’s nice to live without a clock, after all.
But while you can loosen up your schedule a bit in the summer, don’t abandon all routine. Routines help your child feel emotionally safe and secure, and following one will help your child make the transition from a structured school year into summer fun a bit easier.
Structure a morning routine that is similar to the morning routine you’ve been keeping all school year, but you can ease up on the time crunch if you want. Keep breakfast, getting dressed, etc. in a similar order to keep things routine for your little one. Then, create a general structure you’ll follow from day to day — lunch at the same time, dinner at the same time, bedtime routine kept the same.
You can make this transition time easier for your preschooler by creating a simple daily checklist for her to follow. Post it in the kitchen or bathroom so she can clearly see what activity comes next.
Summer learning loss is a real thing. Don’t stress about providing the same level of learning your child has been experiencing in preschool, but continue reading, practicing letters in fun ways, and learning about the world around you. Take trips to the library, museums, farms, zoo, and more to keep your preschooler’s mind engaged and learning. This is a great transition strategy for your preschooler because it keeps her mind occupied and helps her avoid boredom.
Making friends in preschool is hard work. Little children have to learn to take turns, control impulses, acknowledge the needs of others, and so much more. By the end of the school year, their hard work has paid off handsomely in true friendships. If you live close enough to some of your child’s preschool friends, arrange for play dates over the summer. Your child and friends will love the comfort of familiar faces, and your child won’t feel anxious about losing those important friendships once school is out.
Listen to Your Child
Your child has just finished a year of preschool, and may be nervous about what’s coming up in the fall. If kindergarten is on the horizon, you may be excitedly talking about the big-kid steps your child is about to take. But for some children, this may make them anxious. The start of the new school year is still a long way off, and they may not be prepared to feel the weight of their next big step.
Listen to your child’s cues. Is he saying he’s nervous about school? Don’t brush him off. Let him know you understand. Is she telling you she doesn’t want to be a big kid? Let her know those feelings are natural and you’re there to help her through them.
You can also give positive examples of times your child was successful at doing a big-kid thing, or tell your child about a time you felt nervous too.
Make a Fun To-Do List
To create excitement about summer, ask your child what he would like to do over the break. If the requests are within reason, put them on the calendar and help him look forward to the fun activities. You can even find a cheap calendar for your child to keep in their room and keep track of the upcoming events. Simple drawings can be enough for a child who isn’t reading yet (a lion on the day you plan to go to the zoo, a beach ball on the day you plan to go to the lake or beach, etc.).
With just a little prep work, these transition strategies for preschoolers will help your child soak up the summer months.
At UDA Creative Arts Preschool in Draper, Utah, we believe your child’s emotional well-being is just as important as academic progress. Our curriculum focuses on developing the whole child. If you’d like to arrange for a tour of the preschool, give us a call at (801) 523-5930 or contact us online.