The first day of preschool is a scary one, both for you and your child. Here are some ideas for how to make that big step easier on both of you:
1. Pay a visit.
Visit the classroom with your little one to get them excited. This will not only create excitement, but help eliminate the first day nerves. Meeting his or her new teacher will also help by giving them a familiar face on the first real day of school.
2. Discuss the activities.
Tell your child what they’ll be doing every day. Think of it as explaining their schedule, even if they don’t have a firm grasp on time just yet. This way, when their teacher says, “OK. It’s snack time,” it will be an activity that your child remembers from their schedule. Schedules provide comfort and make the day flow more smoothly.
3. Pack their favorites.
A lunchbox filled with your child’s favorite snacks is a surefire way to chase some first day jitters away.
4. Leave a love note
First days are always a little scary so let your little one know you’re thinking of them. Leave a note in their lunchbox. Picture notes are great for those who aren’t reading quite yet.
5. Read books about preschool.
Reading stories out loud about how exciting preschool is will give your little one something to look forward to.
6. Buy the gear.
Go out together to shop for a new backpack, notebooks and crayons. New school supplies that he or she helped pick out will make them feel extra prepared and look forward to the big day.
7. Ask them.
Ask your child how they’re feeling. Are they excited? Are they nervous? Not only will talking through feelings prove therapeutic, but you may be able to put some of their worries to rest.
8. Set up play dates ahead of time.
If you receive a class list before preschool starts, give some of the parents a call. If your child has the opportunity to play with one or two of his or her new classmates before preschool even starts, she or he’ll be able to spot a familiar face on the first day.
9. Talk about the potty routine.
Many kids have just finished potty training when they start preschool. They may feel nervous about having to go while they’re in a new place. Talk about this before hand. Make sure they understand what steps to take. “Ask your teacher first.” “Don’t forget to wash your hands.”
10. Consider sending a comfort item.
If your child has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, send it along with them. It will comfort them, especially during naptime when they’re trying to fall asleep in a new place. Just be sure to double check with the preschool to make sure it’s OK first.
11. Start bringing preschool up in day-to-day activities.
If your child draws a colorful picture, say “I bet you’re going to get to make other art projects like that at preschool.” If you see your little one share a toy, applaud them by saying, “Great job! Your new school friends are really going to love when you share with them.”
12. Share your own stories.
Reassure your little kiddo that when you started preschool, you were scared too, but then tell them about all of the fun you had and friends you made.
13. Goodbye routine.
Create your very own goodbye ritual. Maybe you sing a little song or give each other a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Maybe you recite a goofy poem. Routine makes kids feel safe so figure out your parting ritual and practice it before the big day. That way, when it comes time for the real deal, all the drills before hand will make using it for real, a treat.
14. Don’t linger.
If you look afraid, your child will pick up on it. And if you stick around too long when dropping them off, they’ll sense that something is wrong. You need to be as brave as you’re telling them to be. So put on a big smile and let your child know how excited you are for them to be taking the next big step!
15. Be on time.
Be on time when you pick up your child. Not only is it scary to watch all of the other classmates leave with their parents, while yours is nowhere to be found, but showing up late looks just plain irresponsible. So be there when you are supposed to be to pick up your child and hear all about their preschool adventures.
-“10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for School.” Parents.com
-Fox, Isadora. “First Day Jitters: Getting Kids Excited About Preschool.” Parents.
-“Tips for the first day of preschool.” Babble.
-Photo courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net