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How to Prepare Your Toddler for the First Day of Preschool

The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Tomorrow Shnook starts preschool!! I can’t believe my baby is now three years old and will be going to school five days a week! I’ve been thinking about this day all summer and trying to prepare him. I had hoped that since we just got home from a long trip away (and a long day of travel yesterday) and because he’s still on East Coast time, that I’d make today a pretty mellow day, and definitely have an early bedtime, complete with reading  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. This book is fantastic for helping kids transition from home to school. Shnook loved this book last year. We read it every single night until all the free kissing hand stickers were gone. (They are now all stuck to the inside of  his former crib).

Sadly, none of my dream preparation happened. Shnook went to bed late after a long day at Ikea with Daddy, followed by Daddy’s office putting together office furniture. No time for reading. I blame Daddy, by the way.

Also, I finally had to time to sit down and read the Parent Handbook, and realized I was supposed to bring a framed picture of our family the first day. We don’t even have a digital photo of all of us, let alone a print in a frame. Already Shnook’s homework record is tainted. Bad Mommy. We’ll see what happens tomorrow but so far, not such a great start.

I looked up preparation for preschool, and luckily, most of what they recommended we had already done over the last few months. I’ll share with you some of the tips I learned:

1. Read Stories about school and starting school. Books like the Kissing Hand, and First Day Jitters are great ones.

2. Schedule visits to the school. Shnook and I went for some ‘playdates’ at the school before we left for Vermont.

3. Talk about the school. We spent a lot of time talking about the playdates we had at school, and some of the kids we met. We talked about the teachers and the school pets (turtle, rabbit), and the trains and musical instruments which which we played. I think this has been really helpful (although we’ll see for sure tomorrow). Make sure you keep the dialogue open and answer any questions they may have.

4. Get a good night’s rest the night before school. D’oh!

5. Eat breakfast together. He usually eats breakfast with Daddy, so we’ll stick to that routine.

6. Say a good goodbye. Plan to stay a little while and help your child get settled. Keep everything positive and upbeat. Create a goodbye ritual (like in The Kissing Hand). Resist running back inside if you leave and hear your child crying.

I scheduled a babysitter for a short time tomorrow so I can go settle Shnook into school without the added distraction of the Fuzzball. Hopefully it will be enough time for him to get comfortable and not get too upset when I leave.

So hopefully, other than the fact that we didn’t do Shnook’s homework, his day will be relatively smooth tomorrow, and hopefully he won’t be too tired. You can read more advice on starting preschool here.

In the meantime, do you think the teachers would be mad if I stayed all day?? Sob.

How did you prepare your little one for his or her first day of school?

Check out more tips from Babble: How to Prepare for the First Day of School!

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