How to Help Your Child Have a
Great First Day at Preschool

Is your child starting preschool this year?
Even if its only for a few hours a couple of days a week, this can be an anxious time for both a child and their parents.

There can be so much excitement and anticipation—at least until the night before! Then suddenly, your preschooler, who’s been bubbling with excitement, is a flurry of tears. And perhaps they’re 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 unless you have a few tips that you can use in a proactive way. Here are some things that you can do to prepare for those last minute jitters to help keep the tears at bay.

• Read books about school and the first day of school.
There are lots of books at your local library about going to school for the first time. Take advantage of these and start reading them before the first day arrives.

• Let them hear positive first day of school stories.
Have other kids talk to your preschooler about their positive experiences at school. Have them tell your child about all the great things about being in school. If they have any negative stories, make sure to let them know that these wouldn’t be helpful at this time.

• Check out their new school.
Set up a time for you and your child to take a tour of the school. Ideally, this would happen more than once. Hopefully, they’ll 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 would be even better.

• Keep their preschool familiar.
Drive past your child’s school frequently before the school year starts. Remind your child that this is where they’ll be going. Show your child how close it really is to home. Even if you live some distance away from the school, you can play this down by making a big deal about it being “so close to home.” Make the same drive that you will be making once they start going to school.

• Help them choose their own school supplies.
Involve your child in choosing their backpack, lunchbox and other supplies. Then, don’t let them use any of these items until school starts. But be warned that this can be a challenge!

• Pick the perfect back to school outfit.
Allow your child to choose what they want to wear on the first day of school. This can even be done well in advance of the first day to build anticipation. You can make this really special by getting them a brand new outfit.

• Keep family close for the first day of preschool.
Give your child a picture or pictures of you to take along. Or, maybe they would like a picture of the whole family. Place the photo in a special frame or book, and make sure that they know where to find it in their backpack.

• Let your child feel like you’re there on the first day of school.
For instance, you can give your child a tissue that you’ve sprayed with your perfume to take along, too. Place it in a ziplock bag and put it away in a different place than where the picture is.

• Give your preschooler a small gift on the first day of school.
Send along a little something that’s special to them as a surprise for them to discover, such as a small stuffed animal, a favorite action figure, or a beloved doll would all do.

• Put on lipstick and make a lip print on a small piece of paper.
Tell your child that it’s there for them whenever they feel like they need a kiss from you. Tell them to 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 is usually confident, the first day of preschool jitters are almost a sure thing. And, if they’re not your child’s jitters, they may be your own! Whether these 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.

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