The end of summer is a bittersweet time for everyone, especially your little ones. The end of long sunny days, unstructured routine-less-ness, and what seems like endless playtime can be a hard transition—even more so if it is your child's first time going to school. Not every child is excited to be separated from their family or be away from home, but we have a couple of tips for encouraging your little ones and getting them excited for this big life change.
Familiarize Kids with their Surroundings
Plan a visit to your little one's school. If it's possible, take them to their classroom or let them meet their teacher. If not, take them to the building and explain that this will be their new school. Show them pictures of the adults they will encounter daily and get your little one familiar with their names.
You could even see if there is a way to get into contact with some of the other parents and schedule a playdate prior to the beginning of school. That way your little one will know some familiar faces on the first day!
Practice for School
Practice makes perfect, and it can be fun too! Prepare your little one for the expectations of the classroom by playing school at home. Let your little one pretend to ride the bus! Set up a makeshift classroom so your child can get the hang of sitting at a desk, working on crafts and worksheets, and sitting down for story time and nap time. Role play as their teacher and help them practice following directions, asking questions, and interacting with the new people in their lives. Kids love playing make-believe and this is a great way to get them excited for the real thing!
It is always a good idea to give kids something to look forward to and work towards. Brainstorm little goals or one big goal for the whole school year together. It can be as simple as promising to learn the whole alphabet by the end of the year or being able to write their own name.
Whatever it is, large or small doesn't matter as long as it is a motivator and a fun way to track their progress and get your little one excited! And—if they complete their goals early you can always set more.
Let Little Ones Pick Out their School Supplies
One of the most fun parts of starting a new activity is shopping for the new equipment you'll need. Here is where you can catch your little one's attention and spark some excitement at the end of summer.
If your child has never been to school before, they probably haven't experienced the joy of picking out items that are just for themselves— like their own pencil case or lunchbox. Letting them pick their supplies gives you a chance to talk about school, get them ready for the change, and allows kids to take ownership of the experience for themselves.
They will want to begin using their gear immediately, giving them a great opportunity to practice for the big day! It's important to have the right gear for the task ahead. So, we put together a list to help get you started!
1st Day of Preschool Packing List