The first day of anything can be overwhelming. The first day of preschool is something special. It may be the first time a child is away from home or relatives. It is the first step toward “real school”. Regardless of what it may be, it is an important step in every child’s life…… and parents.
The first day is often emotional, primarily for parents. Big steps like this makes you realize how little time you truly have with your children. While it is exciting to send them to school where they will learn so much, it is understandable that there is some sadness as well.
Here are some tips to help prepare both parent and child for this big day!
You’ve done your research and found the perfect program for your child. The first day is approaching. What do you need to do to prepare?
When you enrolled, you should have been told what to bring on the first day of school. This could vary school to school. At All God’s Children CEC we require children to bring a full change of season appropriate clothing and they may bring a special blanket for nap. We provide all other needs. (Younger children in other classrooms provide diapers and wipes)
Make it s special activity to pick out the things they need for school. If your school permits it, pick out a special backpack to take their things in. Pick out a special first day outfit. When a child is involved, it makes it more meaningful. THe night before the first day, have them lay out their outfit and have everything ready for the next morning.
Talk about what to expect at preschool. You can get a schedule or an idea of the schedule from the teacher. Talk to your child about the different things they will be doing. Be excited and happy about it. Your child will be looking to you for how to react. If you act upset or sad, they will be worried or nervous, even scared. Let them know you can’t wait to hear about all the fun things they are going to do and friends they will make.
You can even read about the first day of preschool. You can read the book several times or the night before preschool. Giving children a look at what their day will look like can settle nerves and even prompt questions they may have. Be sure to ask your child if they have questions or worries. Address these early so they have an opportunity to understand.
The day is here!
It’s finally here. The first day. Start the routine you want to have. You don’t want a rushed morning, as this can make every one on edge and anxious. We often see children have rough mornings because their parents are in a hurry. Set an alarm that will you to get up and have plenty of time to get ready. Morning routines should be pleasant and calm. Lay outfits out the night before. Have a good breakfast if your school does not serve one. On the ride to school, talk about what they want to do at school, where they want to play, etc. Share with your child what you will be doing with your day.
Drop off time can be difficult for everyone involved. At All God’s Children CEC, we suggest to our parents to make drop off short and sweet. Talk positively and happy about coming to school. Assure them you will be back to get them and that they will have a great day. Give hugs and kisses and wave good bye. DON’T GO BACK. It’s just like that glass of water at bedtime. If you go back for one more, it won’t end. I’ve seen parents stay 15 minutes giving “one more hug”. It truly only makes it harder.
Don’t linger in the hall either. It doesn’t serve you to stand in the hall and listen to your child cry or even watch them. What does happen is your child spots you in the hall and now believes that you are always out there waiting. This makes it much harder for the teachers to help them settle into the classroom.
If you are upset or feel as though you are going to cry, that’s ok…..just don’t do it in front of your child. Remember, they are looking to you to know how to react. If you are upset or crying, that is going to scare them. Be happy, upbeat and positive.
You made it!
You and your child survived the first day of preschool! Woo Hoo! I’m proud of you!
Just like your morning routine, create a pick up and evening routine. On your way home, talk about your day. Ask open ended questions (What was your favorite thing you did today? What did you learn about?) and ask follow up questions. If your school sends home daily reports ( We use Tadpoles), talk about what the teacher had to say about their day.
Implement an evening routine that will allow your child to get enough rest. We often see children struggle because they were not well rested the night before. Setting up these routines will help you as they enter elementary school. Starting early makes it easier!
What are some tips you have for the first day of preschool?