Parenthood is quite the adventure—we know the years are short, but the days can be extra long (hello, the sleep deprivation stage!). Somehow, the first time your not-so-little-one goes to preschool feels like someone pressed fast-forward from the moment they were born. Now, they are no longer swaddled in a blanket, but instead, they look so tiny wearing their first “big kid” backpack. As parents, our role is to get them excited about this next phase that begins their formal education.
Of course, anything that is “new” can also feel intimidating and cause butterflies in your preschooler’s stomach. These sentiments are normal and we encourage all the feels when it comes to your LO’s first-day-of-preschool experience. Don’t be surprised if you get caught up in all the emotions, too! There will be many “firsts” you will live through with your growing child, but their first day of preschool is one to cherish in your memory (and in theirs) forever. In anticipation of this monumental moment in your kiddo’s life, we’re sharing five fun and simple ways to get them excited about starting preschool.
Your preschooler may not have any idea what to expect for their first day of school. They may be wondering if you will be spending the entire day with them at school or if they may take their favorite toys to play with their new friends. For the little ones, there are lots of unknowns in anticipation of their first day at preschool. To help them get pumped as the countdown to back-to-school starts, we recommend updating your bookshelf with some of our back-to-school favorites.
The Quarto Group—publishers of the lovable series Little People, BIG DREAMS—has several books that would make great additions to your library and, most importantly, get your student feeling happy about their first day. These books help demystify the school experience for your child while highlighting the connection between parent and child to alleviate any separation anxiety. By reading with your child before their first day starts, you can spark conversations about school routines and expectations and discuss the importance of learning outside the home. Plus, these books illustrate that school is so much fun! Below are some of our must-have back-to-school books for your preschool-age kiddo.
School has so many benefits for your child’s development and through this ABC book, your little ones can understand all about school routines and the value of being part of a community of learners and helpers. They’ll realize doing good and being helpful is the most impactful form of kindness that can change the world.
Love knows no bounds and transcends time and space in this charming story, which beautifully exemplifies the connection we have with our loved ones, even when we are not with them physically. The story is told through the perspective of Tess as she embarks on her first day of school and soon realizes that the love her family has for her and vice versa is profound and with her at all times.
2. Watch TV shows about back-to-school
If your kids are anything like mine, I don’t really need to convince them to watch TV. They’re ready at all times! And although there is a lot of content out there for our littles to consume, watching specific TV shows which address the first day of school for toddlers can get them feeling joyful and calm about what is to come. Below are two of our fave TV programs which do a masterful job of addressing all the feelings associated with back-to-school for kids at the preschool age.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
Where to Watch: PBS, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video
Where to Watch: Nick Jr., Noggin, and Amazon Prime Video
3. Do a school-themed craft together
Because toddlers may not yet have all the words to express their emotions, having an opportunity to use their other senses—like their hands—can “up” the excitement factor for back-to-school. Plus, they will be spending one-on-one time with you, so perhaps while you craft together, you can discuss the new school routine and answer any of their questions. At the end of your crafting project, you will have created a token of this special time in their life that they can keep well beyond the preschool years. Below are some of our go-to back-to-school crafts for toddlers.
- Handprint Apple and Footprint Bus Back-to-School Keepsakes by I Heart Arts ‘n Crafts
- Paper Plate Apple Craft by Simply Today Life
4. Plan a fun activity the day before school
Yes, you as a parent will have what feels like an endless to-do list for your LO’s first day at school, but try to put that aside to plan one fun activity to do with them the day (or night) before school. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or cost a dime, but the goal is to increase the excitement—and reduce the nerves—the day before the “big” day. I’ve taken my boys to get ice cream at their favorite parlor, and it immediately gets them jumping for joy. You can use the opportunity to talk all about what to expect the next day and remind them how fun it will be.
5. Send them off with a token that keeps you both connected
Despite all our efforts to get them excited about their first day, your children may still feel a tinge of nervousness and sadness to be separated from you. After all, you are their center. To prevent too many tears on the first day of school, consider sending them off with a little token that keeps you both connected throughout both of your days. You can DIY something like a note or we recommend these two sentimental items that will remind your little students they are always loved by you.
This post was in partnership with The Quarto Group but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.