'Twas the Night Before Preschool

'Twas the night before preschool and try as I may
My little one’s nervous about the coming first day.
Pencils are neatly zipped into the pack,
And we’ve stocked up on all the very best snacks.
Once more, our favorite book will be read
As visions of new friends dance in our heads.
We’ve practiced our counting and tying our shoes,
We’re ready to start; we’ve nothing to lose.
The skills we will learn and practice and keep
Now if only we could get some sleep!

Starting preschool is an exciting time for kids and parents alike! It can be difficult for some children to take this big step toward independence, but with some preparation, you can help them have a great first day, and set a positive tone for the rest of the school year. Here’s how you can make that happen:

1. Let your child tell you what she is thinking.

If she is nervous, reassure her. If she is feeling good about it, no need to bring up reasons she might be anxious. Be positive and confident, and let your child ask any questions or express any worries that she may have.

2. Pick out an outfit (or two) together.

Lay out a couple of options for clothes for the big day. This way, you’ll be prepared and ready with no last-minute arguments over what to wear.

3. Pack the backpack together.

Pick out a favorite snack, put any necessary supplies inside, and set it in a spot where you won’t forget it the next day. Teach your little scholar where to put things and practice zipping.

4. Choose a special photo or a “blankie” to bring.

Being without mom or dad for the day can be scary. Put something special in your child’s backpack that he can touch when he is feeling nervous.

5. Read together.

Find a book about going to school or about separation anxiety at your local library. You can find some great suggestions here: 7 Books to Read to Your Child About Pre-k

6. Get to bed on time.

Sleep is important for everybody to feel ready for the first day. Make the bedtime routine a little more special with a bubble bath, a story or song, or your child’s favorite pajamas.