If this is the first year of sending a little one off to school, big hugs to you. It can be filled with lots of joy, sadness, excitement, hesitation, and all of the big feelings in between. The first day of school for any child even if this is your 10th year, will still hold all of those big feelings as well, but man the first FIRST day of school for your baby is big. I wanted to share a few tips I’ve seen along the way and what I am doing for my kiddo to prepare him emotionally for his first day of school.
Books are such a wonderful way for children to make connections about big feelings through literature. There are so many awesome books out there about the first day of school, being kind, staying true to yourself, and being brave. Finding books on big emotions that your child may be experiencing are an easy way to connect and open conversations up about what your child may be feeling.
There are many different back to school books out there, two of my favorites are The Kissing Hand and Be You. The Kissing Hand Is a great book to read to your child leading up to their first day. It shows a mama raccoon reminding her baby that she’s always with him by kissing the palm of his hand as he heads to his first day of school. This is such a cute book to show the connection that you have with your child even when they are away from you.
A cute idea to take from the book is to draw on your kiddos hand a small heart that way they could look at it when they need a reminder that you love them and will come back to pick them up after school is over. Be You is a book that empowers and encourages kiddos to stay true to themselves while being brave. Such a great way to open up big conversations when starting school.
Bracelets are an easy way to have a visual representation of a reminder that your child can wear throughout the first day of school and days following. For my first child we got matching bracelets from a gas station, such a fun way to let her pick something out. You could do something nicer than that, but she saw the rainbow pattern and was blown away! For my son that is getting ready to enter school for the first time, I am choosing to make his out of embroidery thread, like we used to back in the day.
I think using his favorite colors and creating matching bracelets for him and myself will make him pretty excited. There are also bracelets online that are premade and come with little poems, of course you could easily recreate these on your own. Just having a simple reminder of connection that they can look at throughout the day can take some of that anxiety away.
For the first day of school take the time to sit down with your child if you can and have their favorite breakfast. Just having their tummies full, building up that energy for the day, and making that connection before they head off will start their day off right. Take the time to wake up just a little early to be able to spend this moment with your kiddo. Answer any last-minute questions, go over routine if possible for their day, and reassure them that they are brave, smart, and strong. Set them up for success and enjoy this moment over some OJ, the first day of school only happens once.
These are just a few tips for making the first day of school a bit easier. Like I said, it is a day filled with lots of emotions for everyone. Be excited, be hopeful, you have done everything you can as a parent to make sure that your kiddo is prepared as much as they can be for this next adventure. You’ve got this!
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher