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Today is all about preschoolers! So often when we think of back to school we think of older kids. We arrange their schedules, we get the school supplies they need, we get them to their practices, arrange their carpools, and send them off on their way to conquer the world. But, it’s important to have some tips for preschool parents up your sleeve. After all, as parents we just want to make the first day of school easier.
Are you sending your little one off to school for the first time? Even if it is only for a few hours a couple of days a week, this can be an anxious time for both a preschooler and their parents!
Make the back to school transition easier with our back to school checklist. Do these things now for less stress during this busy time! Just tell us where to send it!
Sometimes, there is great excitement and anticipation – at least until the night before! Then suddenly, your preschooler, who was bubbling with excitement, is suddenly a flurry of tears. Perhaps they are not the only one in tears as the reality of the following day sets in.
This doesn’t have to be an emotionally charged mess, however, if you’ve got a few tips to use in a proactive way. Here are some things you can start doing now, to prepare for those last minute jitters to help keep the tears at bay.
I will say, that preparing your preschooler for the first day of school starts weeks in advance, ideally. Talking about their first day of school, always in a positive light of course, should be a natural part of conversations for weeks leading up to the back to school time of year. This is especially true since your preschooler will know the day is coming when back to school starts being part of stores, conversations, and more. It’s so important for your preschooler to start thinking about their first day of school because you’ve brought it up first.
I suggest not making a big deal of these first day of school conversations. Just let the topic weave in and out of conversations in a natural way. The more of a big deal you make it, the more anxious thoughts they may feel about it. For them, the first day of school is an unknown. And, the unknown almost always brings feelings of anxiousness, even for adults. Kids are usually even more prone to these kinds of thoughts. New experiences are always filled with great anticipation. It is up to you to make that anticipation a time of excitement rather than anxiousness. And with that, let’s get started!
Check out these tips for preschool parents to make their first day of school easier!
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Read books about school & the first day of school
There are numerous books at every local library about going to school for the first time. As I mentioned above, start finding these books well in advance. I find reading kids books about anything they need to adjust to is a great strategy to have. Reading books about their first day of school will make the even feel more familiar when they get to it.
Take advantage of these and start reading them long before that first day arrives. Here are a few favorites:
Let them hear positive first day of school stories
Have other kids talk to your preschooler about their GOOD experiences at school.
Have them tell your child all the great things about being in school. If they have any negative stories, make sure they know that these would not be helpful at this time.
It’s never too early for your kids to start hearing these positive stories. When kids tell stories to other kids, there is almost always a captive audience.
If they have older siblings, share the amazing things about their first day of school experience.
Check out their new school
Set up a time for your preschooler to take a tour of the school.
Ideally, this would happen more than once. Hopefully, they will be able to meet some of the key people at the school, too.
Also, if you can arrange this before the previous school year ends it’s even better!
Keep things low-key. The idea is for the building and the environment to not be new on the first day of school.
Keep their preschool familiar before the first day of school
Drive past your child’s school frequently over the summer.
Remind your child that this is where they will be going. Show them how close it really is to your home.
Even if it is some distance away, you can play this down by making a big deal about in being “so close to home.”
Make the same drive you will be making once they start going to school.
The more you drive by or maybe even go play on the playground if possible the better.
Help them choose their own back to school supplies
Involve your child in choosing their backpack, lunchbox, and needed supplies.
Then, don’t let them use any of these things until school starts, which can be a challenge!
There are so many fun options out there, and having school supplies that are meaningful to them will make them eager to finally get to use them. You may find buying these items well ahead of time will be helpful.
Pick the perfect back to school outfit
Allow your child to choose the outfit they will wear for the first day of school.
This can even be done well in advance of the first day in order to build anticipation. You could make this really special by getting them a brand new school outfit!
As soon as you find their outfit, put it in a place where they can see it and look forward to wearing it. Make sure to save it for that special first day of school, however.
Keep family close for the first day of preschool
Let your child choose a picture or pictures of you to take along. Or, maybe they would like a picture of the entire family.
Place it in a special frame or book, and make sure they know just where to find it in their backpack.
Taking something meaningful to them from home is also a smart strategy.
Let your child feel like you’re there on the first day of school
Give your child a folded tissue that you have sprayed with your perfume to take along, too.
Put it in a ziplock bag and tuck it away in a different place than where the picture is.
Give your preschooler a little gift on the first day of school
Send along a little something that is special to them as a surprise for them to discover.
A small animal, a favorite action figure, or a beloved doll could all do. This will be something that not only sets that day apart, but this will also be something that creates a priceless memory for them for years to come.
Give your child a kiss to take along
Put on some lipstick and make a lip print on a small piece of paper or card stock.
Tell your child that it is there for them whenever they feel like they need a kiss from you. Have them gently put it up to their cheek, and it will be almost as good as the real thing!
Whether your child is naturally apprehensive or the type who had the world by the tail from the moment they were born, first day of preschool jitters are almost a sure thing. If they are not your child’s jitters, they may be your own! Whether these 10 tips are for your child or to put your own mind at ease, they can be a great way to make the first day, or the first week, a success.