3 Things You Didn’t Realize Your Toddler Needs To Know Before Preschool

Studies confirm that children who begin their education early enjoy greater academic success, pursue higher education more often, and wind up making more money in the long run. The benefits of enrolling your child in preschool are clear. However, any preschool teacher can tell you that some children are more ready for the preschool environment and expectations than others. There are things your child needs to know before they enter preschool in order to start off on the right foot. Here you'll learn about 3 of them.

Name Recognition

Your child has likely known his or her name for some time before they are anywhere close to preschool, but can your kiddo recognize the letters of their name? In preschool many things are labeled. From art supplies to cubbies and coat hooks, your child will be seeing their name all over the place. If you're considering enrolling your mini-you into a preschool program, it's time to start working on letter recognition, and most kids are cool with it if you don't go in order, and instead start with their own name. 

You can do this by helping your child write their name. Give them a guide and let them trace the letters of their name. Practice makes perfect, so don't worry if they don't seem to get it at first. Let them keep trying and pretty soon you'll see progress.

"I Messages"

Put yourself in your child's shoes for a moment. He or she has always been surrounded by people who care very much about their feelings and make an effort to accommodate them. You, no doubt, try to help your child work through their emotions, and your child knows you as a safe haven. Enter preschool, where your child has to learn quickly that toddlers are often possessive of their belongings and their favorite things. They sometimes have trouble handling another person's actions constructively, and don't know how to communicate when they are upset. Teaching your child to state the problem clearly is an incredibly useful skill for them to have in preschool. Instead of crying in frustration, hitting their peers, and acting out vociferously and violently, your child's "I messages" can be incredibly useful. "I don't like it when you take my toy," and "It makes me sad when you color on my page," not only help your child communicate their needs, but also can help teach their peers about empathy.

Know Their Limits

Kids are born scientists. They test and experiment and have to learn where their limits are. Those boundaries don't come pre-programmed, and sometimes it's up to you to prepare them for the more independent environment of preschool.

Your child should know if they have allergies, for instance. If your child is deathly allergic to peanuts, certainly you can expect the school to create a safe environment, but it will be up to your child to avoid the peanut candies another kid smuggled into school in their pockets. Your child should know when they can hold it, and when it's a true bathroom emergency. They should know about good and bad touches and what they should be reporting to you and their teachers. Having clear limits and feeling comfortable asking for help in enforcing them is one hallmark of a healthy child, and preschool can be a great jumping off point for them to gain experience in this vital skill.

Most daycares and preschools have rules about what a child must know before they attend the program; things like being fully toilet trained, feeding themselves, or dressing themselves. For more information on what else may be expected of your child before you can enroll them in preschool, contact a professional organization, such as those found at http://www.kidscountry.net.