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4 Ways To Help Three-Year-Old Child Adjust To Preschool This September

by Kylian Fournier

As fall arrives, many young children are enrolling in preschool for the first time. If you have a three-year-old who will be starting a preschool program in September, they will have many adjustments to make. Here are four ways you can help them transition to life as a preschooler.

Drink from a Medicine Cup

During snack time, many preschools give children a drink in a small paper cup. Kids who have only previously used bottles and sippy cups may have trouble adjusting to a topless cup.

To help your child learn how to use a cup, start giving them their drinks in a plastic medicine cup. A medicine cup only holds a couple of ounces, so there won't be much to clean up when they spill. It's also the perfect size for a three-year-old's small hands, and it can be washed and reused.

(A shot glass is about the same size as a medicine cup. Children who haven't used a cup before may bite down on it to help control it while drinking, though. Therefore, a plastic medicine cup is preferable to a glass shot glass, which could shatter in their mouth.)

Potty Train with Cloth Diapers

Most preschools require their students to be potty trained before enrolling, but kids sometimes have relapses when the stress of being at preschool sets in. If your child is struggling to either become or remain potty trained, you can help them by switching from disposable to cloth diapers.

Thirsties explains that cloth-diapered children learn to use the toilet at younger ages than disposable-diapered kids because cloth diapers aren't as absorbent as disposable ones. Kids can better sense when they've soiled themselves if they're in cloth diapers, which helps them identify the physical cues that immediately preceded the soiling.

You might not be able to put your three-year-old in cloth diapers while they're at preschool, but you can work with them at home in cloth diapers.

Make Nap Time Quiet Time

With the transition to a preschool schedule, your three-year-old's nap routine may change. Sometime between when they start preschool and enroll in elementary school, they will likely stop napping.

Help your child transition their nap time into a quiet time. Although they might not sleep during their quiet time, this is a peaceful time for them to relax on their own. It will teach them to settle down, which is an important skill to have when their preschool teacher asks them to sit and pay attention.

Go to a Weekend Playgroup

If your three-year-old hasn't spent much time around other children their age, they might have trouble adjusting to the social life of preschool. They may withdraw, bully others or act out. These are all inappropriate ways to act in school, and preschool is the proper time for your child to learn how they should interact with classmates.

While teachers will work with your child on their social behavior during the preschool's hours, you can reinforce their lessons by joining a weekend playgroup. Hanging out at the library or playground with other children their age will give them another opportunity to learn how to interact with others, and it will afford you a chance to oversee this area of their development personally.

If you have a three-year-old who is starting preschool for the first time, September may be a difficult month of transition. Use these four ideas, as they're appropriate for your child's struggles, to help your three-year-old adjust to the change. Hopefully, you'll be able to work with them at home, and they'll learn the skills they need for preschool. 

For more info on preschool environments, check out websites for schools in your area and visit ones that best fit your child's needs.