Tips for Transitioning Your Toddler To Preschool

This post has been sponsored by Del Monte​®​. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The last few months of 2018 held a lot of changes for our family. I committed to a new opportunity part time out of the house, and this meant more hours at preschool for Fernando. So I thought I’d share steps and tips for transitioning your toddler to preschool, that helped our family.

Do a trial run

Ideally, it would be great to transition slowly. First, adding a half day, and then another, and then extending those days to full time. I was lucky enough to be able to do just that with Fernando. So, his transition to extended hours at preschool three days a week was near seamless. But if you don’t have that luxury, I would suggest doing the same kind of progressive just at an expedited level.

If you know you are going to go back to work, it’s tempting to want to spend all the free time you have with your little one but a great tip for transitioning your toddler to preschool is to do a trial run before preschool becomes a necessity.

The week before F was to start the extended hours, I asked for him to stay longer than usual just so that we could both get adjusted. He did super well and seemed to enjoy napping at school. Which was music to my ears because nap time has become a battle ground at home.

It’s still super hard to leave him on most days, but knowing that he is ok helps.

Give him his favorite things for lunch

One of the things I was most nervous about was how my toddler was going to eat without me. So it was important for me to try and give him all the things he loves. This way, I know he will eat his lunch. I know, easier said than done. Right?

Packing his lunch with things I know he will eat was helpful to my own sanity. I started with simple and delicious hits like the Del Monte® Fruit Cup® snacks that I found in the fruit snack aisle. They’re now in 100% Juice with 25% less sugar than the national leading brand*. 

Coupon offer: Save $1.00 on any two packs of Del Monte Fruit Cup snacks. Link here:

When he is home with me, I work to introduce him to new food choices, but for lunch away from me, all I am worried about is that he eats, not what other moms/teachers will think of my lunch packing abilities 🙂

Build on routine and familiarity

I bought a little toddler pillow from Ikea and had F sleep with it for a couple of nights. Then, I packed it with his sheet and blanket for preschool nap. I think seeing his things that he is familiar with helped the transition to preschool as well. 

He also likes to have a yogurt when he wakes up from his nap at home. I asked his teacher to also give him a yogurt when he wakes up, this way his routine and sense of everyday are in tact (for the most part).

Explain what’s happening

To some parents this may sound like a no-brainer—talk to your toddler! But for me, it’s a conscious effort to remember this little human isn’t a baby anymore that you just pack up and carry with you wherever you go. Now that he is almost three, his comprehension level is through the roof, even if he isn’t able to completely explain his thoughts, yet. F has a lot of opinions and negotiations are in full swing here.

So I start each morning by reminding him that he is heading to preschool today, that he will eat lunch, play and sleep there, and then mommy will be back. I don’t know if he is getting 100% of what I’m explaining, but I do think it helps settle his anxiety a bit. 

Tears are ok

This is tough stuff. Staying home with your babe is tough. Leaving them to go to work is tough. If you’re like me, you’ve got #momguilt either way. The only way to know that you’re doing the right thing is to go through it and know that everyone will be ok at the end of the day. 

So, tears are ok. For you and for them. And then, you’ll be surprised how much less tears there are from them. Then you’ll cry a little more for a different reason!

In that case, you have my full permission to steal a snack from your toddler and enjoy a little Del Monte Fruit Cup snack all to yourself. You deserve it!

*​Contains 13g of sugar per serving compared to 18g of sugar per serving in the leading national brand.


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