Summer is almost over and for some of you school starts in early August. Your child should be as familiar as possible with what to expect on their first day of school. When your child understands what to expect a new experience can be positive. To help avoid the first day meltdown we’ve pulled the ultimate first day of preschool prep list to help prepare you and your child for the big day.
Create Separation Opportunities
It’s not fair to expect your child to separate from you on the first day of school if they have not had opportunities to separate from you before. This is by far the most important part of your first day of preschool prep list. We recommend slowly introducing opportunities that gradually increase the separation between you and your child so when the time comes they’re ready to go. Drop your child off at a relative or friends house for a play date. Use a babysitter when you need to run errands. Try a Mommies Day Out Program, usually sponsored by local churches. Start with a short amount of time and build on it. Remember practice makes perfect.
Role Playing for Typical School Day
Let your child know what to expect on their first day by role playing. Set up a pretend classroom and go through each of the parts of the day. Having fun and making sense of the upcoming new situation in a safe environment helps prepare you child for their actual first day. Playing in a pretend situation can help avoid the epic meltdown on the first day of school.
Make Friends Before School Starts
More than likely you already know one or two kids that will be in your child’s class. Invite kids over for play dates. A familiar face in a new situation it is always comforting. Sometimes schools will give out class list before the first day of school. If so, arrange a class play date at the park. This would be a wonderful opportunity for you to meet new parents and on the first day at school you can hold each others hands at Starbucks.
Adjust Your Child’s Sleeping Schedule
Summer sleeping schedules can have later bedtimes, but you need to adjust your child’s bedtime before the first day of school. Start several weeks before school begins. You’ll need the head start to reset your kid’s internal body clocks. Begin by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each week until you reach the desired bedtime. Waiting to the day before school starts to dial back the clock is not going turn out well for you or your child.
Use Books & Videos to Explore The First Day of Preschool
This is by far the most fun and easily accessible item on of the first day of preschool prep list. There are many books available about the first day of school. There are a few great videos too. However, it’s important that the books and videos you share with your child use positive language. And use caution when using books and videos with animated animals. This can be confusing to your child; they may think that animal might be in their classroom. We recommend materials that use real children in the classroom setting so your child can fully identify and understand what will actually happen.
Visit the School
All schools have a Meet and Greet before the year begins. If possible, call the school and ask if you can drop by with your child to visit the Meet and Greet. Don’t show up unannounced and try not to be demanding. Pick up a little gift for your child to give to his new teacher. This always help to break the ice and get your child acquainted with their new surroundings. Walk around the school. Show your child where the bathroom is located, where the playground is, and where you will be waiting for him at the end of the school day.
Go shopping with your child to pick out backpacks and lunch boxes. Schools will send out supply list before school starts. Have fun picking out these supplies with your child. And please don’t forget to label everything. Check out Sticker Kids for some really cool labels.
These steps will not guarantee a no-tear drop off, but it will guarantee that the tears, if any, will only last for a few minutes. Going to school for the first time is a giant milestone for you and your child. Preparing your child in advance for their first day of school will help ensure an easy and more positive experience for both of you.
What are you putting on your first day of preschool prep list? Let us know! We love new ideas!