Back to school is just around the corner. For many toddlers, it’ll be the first day of preschool and the very first day they’re away from mom and dad. My oldest daughter is starting preschool in the fall and just the thought of her going off to school for the first time gets me teary eyed.
How will I handle dropping her off at her first day of preschool? Better yet, how will she deal with her first day? If I know my daughter, I won’t be the only teary eyed person at the classroom door. Not only will there be some weeping, but possibly a tantrum or two while I peel her off my leg and try to make a get away.
To help make a smooth transition into the school year, I sat down with veteran moms and asked them how to survive the first day of school.
1. Tour the school with your child before the first day.
A tour will help your preschooler become familiar with her surroundings before getting dropped off by mom or dad. While visiting, meet the teacher, visit your child’s cubby, and get introduced to other children in the class. Make sure to act excited about everything you see. Your enthusiasm will help your child become more enthusiastic about school.
2. Go shopping with your child.
Yes, brave the toddler tantrums, grab your coupons, and take her to the store. Getting your child involved in picking out their own school supplies, backpack and clothes will help her mentally prepare for school. Give her the freedom to choose those gaudy, pink, sparkly shoes she loves. Tell her that she can wear them to school and show them off there. You can also have your child help you cut out or search for coupons for her school supplies. She’ll enjoy finding coupons for her items and will learn a simple lesson in savings. For a full list of places you and your child can search for coupons click here.
3. Let Her DIY
On the first day of school, allow her to pick out her outfit, help pack her lunch, and prep her school bag. Remember to be over enthusiastic about all her choices and be super duper EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING BECAUSE IT’S HER FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!! HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!!
4. Saying Goodbye
Now for the hard part — leaving your precious, screaming, teary eyed child at school. Give her a hug, kiss and a big smile at the classroom door. Wave goodbye and walk away. Don’t show any hesitation because, if she sees your uncertainty, it’ll make her uncertain about staying there.
5. Take It Easy Afterwards
The first day of school is over, but there’s one more tip for surviving the first day. Don’t plan on doing anything after school. Your child will likely be exhausted, so take it easy. Plan a nap and put together an easy dinner. The rest of the day, talk about what she experienced during her first day. Be upbeat about everything she tells you; remember she’ll have many more school days when you’ll both want to share the excitement.
Maisie Knowles is the founder of BestBabyStuff.com, a website reviewing only the best baby products. She earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado in 2003 and currently spends most of her time at home with her two young girls.