This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KinderCare. The opinions and text are all mine.
Planning to drop your child off at preschool for the first time? Having a child go to school for the very first time can be scary, overwhelming, and emotional- for everybody! So how do you make sure that your child feels confident and secure in their new environment? Read the tips below for ways to dull the shock of starting a new routine and meeting new people and to learn how to act as a parent in order to help your child start with their best foot forward!
I remember the first time we signed David up for an early learning program. Part of me was so excited that he would be in a place where he was active and learning while giving me time to work from home (and the ability to focus)! But even though his program was a half day, 3 days a week, I felt so emotional when I was dropping him off. How could MY baby already be ready to be dropped off in a classroom and have fun without me all day?! David, who is usually pretty shy, ended up LOVING his teachers and even learning the names of the kids in his class. He would come home talking about his class and what they learned that day and then he would take the longest naps because he was WORN OUT! It lifted such a burdendon knowing he was in a good place and I didn’t have to feel guilty saying, “Not right now, Buddy” when I would try to get some work done. It was really the best of both worlds!
Check out some of the tips I’ve put together to help you and your little one have a great first day of school!
Visit the school with your child
Walk the hallways with your child and try to get them somewhat familiar with the layout and the places/classrooms they’ll regularly see. Try to point out things for them to get excited about like reading areas, play areas, etc. This can help tremendously when dropping them off on that first day so the entire experience isn’t a huge shock.
Build a relationship with your child’s teachers
Talking about shock, many if not most kids will probably have a hard time being left with an unfamiliar person the first few days of preschool. If you have the opportunity, try to schedule a chance for your child to meet his or her future teacher(s). On the first official day of preschool, try having your child bring a small gift with them to school to give to their teachers. This not only will make them excited about showing up to their classroom, but also leave a positive impression of their teachers in their mind and will help them forget the fact that they’re in an unfamiliar place.
This is the time to be sure you’ve read all the lists that your child’s teachers have emailed or handed out ahead of time. What does your child need to take with them to school on the first day? What do they need to bring with them on a daily basis? This is great for any mom who feels like having any little bit of control gives them just that much more peace of mind (looking at YOU, Chelsea Damon)!
Practice “school” with your child and get them excited!
One thing any child can get excited about is playing! Take a few moments each day leading up to the time they start preschool and act out with them what it will be like to show up to school and be dropped off. Beyond that, practice playing teacher and student (maybe even ask them to be the teacher and take a turn being the student, yourself)! This will leave the impression in your child’s mind that school is fun, teachers are safe, and will give them an idea of what to expect in the classroom.
Show your child that you’re confident
You know how animals can smell fear? So can kids. If they see that you- as their parent (AKA hero)- are nervous, uncomfortable, or emotional when dropping them off at school, chances are, they’ll feel the same way. While yes, there’s a huge chance you may get teary-eyed when seeing your little sprout sport their backpack and new school clothes for the first time.
Don’t rush the first morning
Sure this might fall under being prepared, but as all parents know, things happen. You don’t want your first morning of preschool to be rushed, frantic, or stressful or your child will make the association that school is rushed, frantic, and stressful. Instead, do your best to get up extra early, have a fun breakfast, and make the entire morning a positive experience that leads seamlessly into drop-off time. Leaving your home a little early will also give you the chance to stay with your child for a little while in the classroom before it’s time to leave, helping them transition slowly. Once you leave the classroom, even if your child is upset, don’t return. You don’t want to reinforce that crying will bring you back to them. Instead, they’ll learn to be content where they are and settle in faster.
Give extra attention when the day is over
After a busy day, your child may be tired, stimulated, or simply craving you. In any case, it’s a great idea to give your child something to look forward to when heading home and to give them a few moments of undivided attention to help them feel like they are still connected to you, even if you’re apart during the day.
If you’re looking for an early childhood education center in your area, I want to encourage you to check out KinderCare! Their approach to education and world-class curriculums make KinderCare America’s most accredited early childhood education center. In fact, “a recent study of 5000 KinderCare children using the nationally-recognized BRIGANCE® Early Childhood Screens III found that our students are exceeding expectations on their assessments.
Feeling confident in your choice of early learning center is the most important thing that will help you drop off your little from day one and fof the rest of the year. Knowing KinderCare’s standard of excellence as well as their ability to understand children and working families makes them a wonderful choice for any family!
In the comments below, share your favorite tips for sending your first baby off to school and share with a friend in the same boat!