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Back-to-School Guide for Preschoolers & Parents

Your baby is starting preschool! Hard to believe, isn’t it? As you prepare for this big step, it’s likely that you are both a mix of excitement, nerves and those first-day butterflies.

Some kids will hug you goodbye and run happily into the classroom without a backwards glance (leaving you to be the teary one). Other kids will need a little bit of time to adjust and may require more support from you as they get used to their new environment. The tips in this back-to-school guide will help you and your new preschooler get ready – and make the transition as stress-free as possible.

Prep in advance

If your little one is apprehensive about starting preschool, try to give him an idea of what it will be like in advance. Talk about the first day, step by step, so he can visualize the new schedule. Recognize his feelings, and let him know that it’s normal to be scared at first. Highlight anything you think he’ll be excited about – like seeing any kids he already knows or activities he enjoys – and have him help prepare his backpack or lunchbox. Let him know when you’ll come pick him up.

Arrive early

The first day of preschool is bound to be a little hectic, so build in extra time to get ready and to get to school before the rush. Introduce your child to the teacher, take a tour around the classroom and let her settle into the new place.

Give it time

Ask the teacher if it’s OK to stick around for a bit on the first few days – often the toughest for kids. Give your child some space to explore and get acquainted with others, but let him know you’re nearby for a sense of security. Then do a quick, positive goodbye and don’t linger longer than necessary. There may be some tears, but trust that you’re leaving him in good hands and he’ll be fine soon. Resist the urge to drop by for surprise visits or to take him home if he has a bad first day. Give him time to get used to a big change.

Talk about the day

Starting preschool can be overwhelming at times – lots of new people, a different environment, unfamiliar activities. Give your child the opportunity to process the experience. Ask open-ended questions about what she thinks, what she enjoys or what she’s having a hard time with. Encourage her to draw pictures or tell stories about her new friends or what she did at school today.

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