Step 1 – Take them Back to School shopping.
We all remember how exciting it was to pick out our new school supplies for the year and what better way to kick things off than with a Back to School Shopping trip? Admittedly 3 year olds don’t need a whole lot in this department. Nevertheless, taking your preschooler on a special shopping trip is a great way to show them that school is something to get excited about. Letting them pick out their own backpack will also start them out with a sense of ownership in the school experience.
Be sure to keep in mind that little backs need little backpacks. All the excitement generated by picking out their own gear will be lost if it tips them over the first time they put it on. For great ideas on where to buy (or how to make) mini backpacks, check out this post by MADE.
Step 2 – Let them know what to expect.
Kids are happy with what they know and they feel safe in a routine. To make their new classroom seem more familiar, try to set the stage for them before the first day. Many schools have a “meet the teacher” day. If yours doesn’t, call the school and ask if you can bring your child to see his new classroom. Walk around and point out all the cool things he’ll be doing or playing with there. You can also show her where to hang her coat in the morning and where she’ll eat her snack or lunch.
Along with getting your child familiar with the classroom, start talking about the other kids in the class. If you have a roster, talk about them by name, “There will be three other boys in your class named Tommy, Will, and Sawyer”. You can even use puppets or dramatic play to act out some of the scenarios your child might encounter with the other kids in class.
Step 3 – Leave them with a little comfort.
This can be a physical object or a good-bye routine. I’ve heard of parents who attach a family picture to back packs so their little guys can see mommy and daddy whenever they need to. A secret handshake or special kind of hug can also add an extra feeling of security before you head out the door.
What will your family be doing to get ready for the first day of preschool? Share with us in the comments.