I love how each day is like a new adventure for my almost three year-old son, Cab. Sure, like most of us he isn’t a fan of getting out of bed in the morning – most of the time I am greeted with “one more minute mommy,” but once he’s ready to go it’s on!
Recently, a new adventure came into our horizon: preschool. Now, as a child who has been in child care since 12 weeks, transitioning to a new program is not something new for our family. But, this one was different. It reminded my husband and I of the saying “big fish, little pond.” See, Cab had become the big fish in his toddler room, not only physically, but mentally. The signs all pointed that it was the right time to do the toddler to preschool transition, but we knew since he was so self-aware that it would be a tricky one.
With the guidance and support from our center leadership, Cab’s toddler teachers, and soon-to-be preschool teacher, a transition plan was laid out. We made an effort at pick up those last few weeks of toddlers to swing by his new preschool classroom and do a bit of exploring on our own time. With Cab, communication is key, so as a family we talked (and talked, and talked) about the transition, his new classroom, the friends he would see that went on before him, and his preschool teacher.
When the big day came, we were ready.
Was he still upset? Sure. Did he have a great time still? Absolutely. We could have prepared ourselves for years for this moment, but it still would have not been easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re 35 or 3, change is difficult. But, what we did find is that all that planning and long conversations, it helped – a ton. Cab settled into preschool within the first week. Now, a few weeks in, he is so comfortable in his new space and teacher, it’s like he has been there for years.
A big part of any transition is preparing your child, but I also encourage you to don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle. This is a big move, for them and you – give yourself grace through it. So whether it is a night of take-out the day before the big move, or a glass of wine at the end of the first week, sit back and relax, because you got this.