How to Prepare Your Child for the First Day of School

The first day of school can be the worst or best day of a child’s entire school career, and can color their school experience for the rest of his or her life. As a mother and former preschool teacher, I have seen lots of children and parents approach this day in a variety of different ways with a variety of different results. Here are a few tried and true ways to make the transition from home (or babysitter) to school a bit easier for everyone involved.

First of all, take your child on a tour of the school he or she will be attending. If possible, meet the child’s teacher at this time. My daughter and I toured her school a month before she began kindergarten, and she fell in love with the huge playground and couldn’t wait to go to school, just so she could make use of all the playground equipment. She also thought her teacher was a nice person after meeting her, and not some scary stranger (and we all know that children shouldn’t talk to strangers!).

Next, choose your school material together. Let your child pick the folders, notebooks, pencils, etc for kindergarten. Or, if you are starting out in preschool, let them pick which blanket to take for naptime. This makes them feel in control of the situation a bit better, and children who feel they have a choice in the matter tend to feel better about the school decision.

Last, share stories about your school experiences when you were your child’s age. My mother told my daughter about my first day of school, and how much fun I had making new friends. This made my daughter want to go to school to make friends herself.

The first day of school is the first step to giving your child the wings they will need to fly as an adult. If it is approached in a calm, pleasant manner, and the child is able to participate in all aspects of it it can be fun for everyone. Especially if you take lots of pictures and celebrate this first big step into the world of “big people”!

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