The first day of school can be nerve-wracking for both children and parents. It's hard to know how everyone will react during dropoff and throughout the school day, but there are ways to help alleviate anxiety.
Here are some of our favorite ways to prep your little one for the school days ahead.
Read Books About School
Head to the library and choose a mix of books that talk about what a typical day of school is like. Make sure you talk about how much fun the activities will be for your child, from getting to have a surprise snack and enjoying art time to playing outside with new toys!
Set Up a 'Meet and Greet'
Most schools allow children to come in and see a classroom and meet a teacher before their first day. If your child is under the age of 3 and going to daycare for the first time, spend an hour or so at the program with them to help them get acclimated. Engage with other children alongside them so your child can see how much fun it is to make new friends.
Talk Them Through The Day
In the weeks leading up to school, take the time to explain what your child will be doing at particular times of the day. For example, while getting dressed in the morning make note of how fun it will be to play outdoors with new friends. Or during lunch time, explain that eating lunch at school will involve getting to use their new lunch box.
Share Your Own School Stories
Reminisce with your child about your own favorite memories from school. And don't be afraid to shy away from talking about difficulties too. If you were nervous as a child, talk about what you did to overcome it and how much you ended up loving school. These stories will help normalize your child's feelings and also give them comfort.
Pack a Comfort Item
On the first day of school, let your child bring a stuffed animal or small toy that they love if it's allowed. Bringing something of theirs will not only offer them comfort, but can act as a nice talking point between their teacher and future friends on the first day.
Say a Happy Goodbye
"I love dropping my child off at school for the first time!" said no parent ever. This moment is high on the list of things parents dread about the start of school. First, be sure to never sneak off without saying goodbye to your child. Instead, give a big hug and kiss and remind them that they are going to have so much fun and that you'll be back before they know it. Try your best to leave quickly after giving a positive goodbye so as not to prolong it for your child or stress them out more. And don't worry, it gets easier over time!