When preschool starts, there is obviously the expected anxiety on the first day of school – this could be nursery or even a combination daycare. This is a three year old who is going to start going away from home, though only for a couple of hours a day – to strangers in an environment that is not home. For any child, this can be a little unsettling and to see a child becoming restless can be unsettling for the parents too.
So, how can the first day of preschool be an enjoyable one? Here are some good tips for parents.
- Visit the school a couple of times. Even if you can’t go in, getting used to the campus and the building is alright. It then doesn’t become a totally unfamiliar environment.
- Make sure you know what the pick up, drop off procedure is. Read through the instructions given by the school carefully.
- Talk about what fun the child would have in school, the activities, the routine, the games, new friends etc. You can even do this when you are doing school related shopping.
- Try on the school uniform a few times beforehand, take a few pictures.
- Make space for school supplies at home and involve the child in this activity. This is where the books would go, stationery here etc.
- If the school has special activities planned for the first day of school, you can talk about those with the child as well.
- Make a plan for what fun activity you would be doing after the first day of school.
All these things help to reduce the unfamiliarity. Making plans for things to do after also makes the first day of school just another ‘regular’ event for the child. Make sure the child is well rested the earlier night and does not wake up late and rush through the morning routine. Take lots of photos and videos of your child (and yourself too!) as this event will never happen again! Enjoy it to the fullest. Your baby is growing up and this is the first step in the long journey.
It’s okay for the children to cry a little. They stop soon and have a great time. Remember – you probably cried on your first day too. You were fine and they will be too!