5 ways to prepare your child for starting preschool

Starting preschool can be traumatic experience for your toddler, who is used to being at home with you or a caregiver.

So, it’s important that you cover these bases before starting preschool, to ensure that your little one has a smooth transition into child care.

Boost her health

You heard how your friends’ kids fell sick repeatedly after starting preschool. So, naturally, you’d want to boost your little one’s immune system.

Dr Wendy Sinnathamby, a specialist in paediatrics and consultant, suggests a well-balanced diet, including a variety of vegetables and fruit, and of course water.

Teach her to wash her hands regularly with soap, too. You can also consider giving her a multivitamin supplement, especially if she’s a fussy eater and isn’t taking formula milk anymore, as well as a vitamin C with zinc supplement.

Tour the centre

Visiting it a few times with your kid before starting preschool can help ease her into unfamiliar territory, says Ruth Chia, a curriculum and programme manager.

Show her around the classroom, lunch area and bathroom. If possible, do it during school hours. You can observe the preschool in operation and discuss your concerns with the teachers.

Your child can also explore and survey the class, but let her choose whether she wants to interact with the other children.

Talk positively about what the pupils are doing – highlighting things that especially interest her – and how much she’ll learn with her new teachers. It’s important to keep your own emotions in check. If you feel guilty or worried about leaving her at school, she’ll probably sense it.

“When you enter the classroom on the first day, calmly reintroduce the teacher to your child, then step back to allow the educator to begin forming a relationship with her. Your endorsement of the teacher will show your cutie that she’ll be happy and safe,” Ruth adds.

Keep vaccinations up to date

Has she received all the mandatory immunisations before starting preschool? If you aren’t sure, check the National Immunisation Registry’s records.

You can also consider giving her optional ones like the rotavirus, chickenpox and influenza vaccines, says Dr Sinnathamby.

Do note that the rotavirus vaccine, which protects her against a highly contagious and common cause of serious diarrhoea, can only be given before she turns eight months old.

The flu vaccine only protects her against the latest strains of the influenza virus, and as such, she’ll still be susceptible to others that cause fever, runny nose and cough.

Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine for Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), a contagious viral infection.

Outbreaks happen every year at childcare centres. Your best bet is to teach your tot to maintain a high level of hygiene.

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