Chock-full of activities, crafts, story hours, and playtime, a summertime camp or daycare program is a great way to prepare your child for the transition to preschool or kindergarten in the fall. Plus, it'll give her social skills a boost. To help her get ready, start talking now about all the fun things she'll do this summer. "Play pretend at home to help her understand what she'll do at camp," suggests Shannon Chapman, camp director of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Camp Braveheart program. Read books like Franklin Goes to Day Camp and, if possible, visit the facility and meet the counselors before the summer session starts.
Preschoolers still struggle with separation anxiety, so it's normal if tears flow at first. "Set up a loving and quick goodbye routine. Even if your child screams, give a reassuring hug, plant a kiss on the palm of her hand for her to 'save,' and then head out the door," says Chapman. Odds are she'll be having a ball before you even start your car.