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10 Ways to Ease Your Kid's Preschool Transition

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Whether you’re counting the hours until the first day of school, or trying to squeeze every last bit of fun out of summer, it’s inevitable; your little one(s) will soon be headed to school. Here are some ways to help prepare them (and you!) for those challenging first few days and weeks.

1. Pick Out Fun School Supplies Together

Crayons lined up isolated on white background

A fun, colorful backpack and a Superman lunchbox are sometimes all it will take to get your little one excited about heading to the classroom. So, while shopping for the glue stick, crayons and construction paper, give them a chance to express themselves.

2. Be Prepared For Tears

crying baby girl

Yep, the night before and the morning of the first day might be a little rough (and not just on the kids!). Remind your child about her favorite school memories—perhaps a friend she's been looking forward to seeing or playing on the really tall slide at recess. And reassure her that you (or someone she loves) will be waiting the minute the day ends.

3. Pack His Favorite Lunch, Plus a Prize

Pink lunch box for little girl

So, a chocolate chip muffin doesn’t sound like a very healthy thing to go with his sandwich, but if it’s his favorite treat, then it can go a long way in making the day a little easier. Tuck in a note letting him know how proud you are of him, and that you can’t wait to hear all about his big-boy day at school.

4. Don’t Be Sad If She's Excited

father walking little daughter to school or daycare

Tears are hard, but seeing her eagerness to bust out of the car and into the school (i.e. away from you) can be even more painful. You have to realize that it’s not being away from you that's appealing (that hits around 9th or 10th grade), it’s the excitement and anticipation of the new adventures that await, and, truth be told, that’s the best attitude they can have about school. Embrace it and be proud of her for it.

5. Don’t Linger—It Makes It Worse

an emotional looking girl

I’ll just stay five minutes. Okay, ten. Just until I see her make a friend. Alright, really, I’ll have lunch with her, and then I’m gone, honest. Liar! The more you hover, the more she’ll begin to think she has a reason to be nervous. Get her situated, a few kisses, remind her that you will see her directly after school, and that she’s going to have a great day, and then hightail it out of there. Self confidence in her abilities begins with your confidence in her.

6. Force a Smile on the Way Out

Mother and Son in a Park

At that morning drop-off, even if you are about to cry a river, smile at your child as you wave goodbye on your way out the door. Watching you bite your lip and seeing your chin quiver makes it tough for him to believe the situation is okay. But, if you give a big grin, one that says, “Man, I am jealous of you kid, look at how much fun you’re going to have today,” you’ll give him a push in the right direction.

7. Grab a Pedicure and a Nap While He's Gone

Applying nail polish

As loud as I know that laundry or work is calling your name, give yourself some time to relax from what was most likely a stressful few days building up to this one. Go home and crawl back in bed, or sit and read a few chapters from a book. I promise the laundry isn’t going anywhere.

8. Don’t Feel Silly Showing Up Early

mom sitting in a car

Playing the waiting game at home while continually glancing at the clock is frustrating, so it’s understandable why you would be sitting in the parking lot by 1:45 when pick-up doesn’t start until 2:30. Lean back, play Candy Crush, and calm the butterflies in your stomach which are going crazy about finally getting your little one back.

9. Prepare for a Little Crankiness By the End of the Week

little child sad face

The first and second days might be fueled by excitement, but by Friday, young kiddos are going to be over the whole getting-up-early-every-day thing. It will take some adjusting, but you will eventually transition from a summer schedule to a school schedule. In the meantime, start or continue a bedtime ritual, and remind them that Saturday is so close.

10. Use the First Weekend to Recharge

Mother bonding with young son sitting in a hammock

After five long days of time limits, structure, and constant activity, plan for that first weekend to be very chill and undemanding—a movie, a trip to the pool; just time to veg out again as a family. Gently remind her on Sunday that she's going back on Monday, and hopefully your words will be met with cheers instead of groans.

 
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