Preschool is a huge milestone in a child’s life. It’s possibly their first time entering a classroom or being left in the care of a new adult for hours. Maybe it’s the first time they sit around a little table with new friends. There’s a lot they’re going to learn and experience, but there are a few things they should already be prepared for. Nope, we aren’t talking about numbers, letters, and colors. We mean the tasks that help a classroom full of four-year-olds function. In a recent TikTok, one teacher offered helpful hints about what kids should know before the first day of preschool.


things I wish families did to prep their kids for preschool #prek #preschool #teacher #nyc

♬ original sound – Dutch

1. Wash Their Hands (Well)

Before kids head to their first day of preschool, parents should emphasize the scrubbing aspect of washing hands—all day, every day. This is a big one. Proper hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent illness in a classroom, according to the CDC. The teacher points out that even though kids know about using soap and water, that doesn’t mean their hands are getting clean. “At this point, I’m doing 15-20 manicures a day because four-year-olds love to just let their hands soak.”

2. Know Their Names

While this seems obvious, you’d be surprised how many kids don’t know their real names before the first day of preschool. Why? Nicknames and pet names. Think baby, bubba, sissy, peanut, angel cakes, etc. “If, for every five nicknames, you could throw in the name they’ll use at school, that would be great. They don’t need to know how to spell it, just what their name is.” The teacher mentions that a great time to reinforce school names is when they’re practicing washing their hands.

3. Keep Their Shoes on at School

This skill might seem funny, but it’s a thing in preschool. “There’s this weird thrill four-year-olds get when taking their shoes off at school. I can’t quite tell you the panic that courses through you five minutes before pick-up when you look down and a student who had shoes on 30 seconds ago is now shoeless, and you have to run around the classroom wondering which stuffed bear they decided to let borrow their shoes,” the teacher says. He does bring up sensory issues and says that’s something else altogether.

4. Do Stuff on Their Own

We all want to help our little ones. But imagine the confusion kids experience if the adults in their life have done everything for them up to this point: Now they come into a classroom, and the adult can’t assist with every little thing because there are 17 other tiny people to help. It can be a hard transition, but by giving them independence at home, you’ll be doing the teacher a big favor. Perhaps, you can start by putting them in charge of hand-washing?

He ends his video with these final words of wisdom: “Basically, what I’m saying is, teach them how to wash their hands.” It’s the least we could do, honestly.

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