Eli started preschool last week and it was a success! The night before his first day I laid in bed next to him and walked him through what the entire day was going go be like. How we will get to meet his teacher, he will wash his hands first thing and then maybe get to color or look at the books in the book section of the classroom. Since my older boys went to the same preschool I knew what songs they would learn, so I sang some of them to him.
When it was time for him to sleep he said “that hurts me tummy!” and I realized that he was nervous! I rubbed his back and sang him songs to calm him down. That night he woke up crying with a nightmare, so we let him sleep in bed with us. In the morning he was unusually quiet at breakfast (usually he is bouncing off the walls) and he didn’t want to eat much.
I knew he was experiences nerves for his first day.
My older two weren’t quite as nervous to start, so I was a little worried there might be tears when we got to his school. But once we got to his class and he recognized his classroom and teacher from Back to School night, he was just fine. Have that familiarity already in place helped him a ton!
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to help prep little ones for their first day at preschool:
Get them familiar with the school:
Eli had been to this preschool to drop off his older brother tons of times before, so he already felt comfortable there. Schools usually have a Back to School night before school starts, or drop by for a tour with your child so that they can see the place beforehand.
Talk them through what the day will be like:
This kind of information is not wasted on a child as young as three. They are little sponges, and you might not realize how much information they will remember! I talk to Eli about how he will wash his hands right when we get to the school and when we walked into his class he turned to me and said “I wash hands!”
Let them help pick our their backpack or clothes:
When they get to decide what to wear it will make them so excited to get dressed in the morning! Eli is using the cutest fox backpack we got at Nordstrom and he loves it. Nordstrom is so great about carrying school gear that appeals to kids (that the moms can get on board with too!) Another good Nordstrom find I always pick up for my boys when they are around three are these shoes. Nordstrom carries the best color selection and these are the best shoes to slip on (no socks needed) and they are so durable! I highly recommend them as a great preschool shoe.
Talk about a favorite yummy snack you two can eat together when you come to pick them up:
This gives them something to look forward to after school and reassure them that you will be back for them.
Introduce their teacher into conversations before they start:
Eli’s teacher mailed out a cute letter addressed to him. He was so excited to open it and we talked all about his teacher before he started school. This way he felt like he already knew her on his first day.
Lay out their outfit the night before:
Eli sees my doing this with his big brothers each night before school, so when it was time for him to go to preschool, he went right to his dresser and pulled out clothes to lay on the floor. It was so cute I had to grab my phone and share it on insta stories (did you see it??) He laid out his sock and underwear next to his shorts and they had to be perfectly straight. It was so cute!
Watch for signs of nerves and treat them with love and care:
Acknowledge the fear they might be having. Tell them it’s ok to be nervous.
I still can’t believe Eli is in preschool! Three is one of my very favorite ages though. It makes watching him grow up not quite as hard knowing how fun (and funny!) age three is!
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