6 Tips to Ensure a Smooth First Day
By Jessica Allison, ELA Curriculum Specialist
Whether it is your newborn or your preschooler starting their first day of care, transitioning to a new environment can be overwhelming and stressful. Change is difficult for anyone, but it does not have to be when it comes to your child’s first day.
Tip 1: Get to know the school
Feel free to call and ask to speak to your child’s teacher, so you get to know them, and they get to know your family. A phone or virtual call is a great way to share information about your child to help with the transition. Does your child like to play with blocks or color? Do they have a special toy that may be comforting to have the first week?
Tip 2: Take a virtual tour of the classroom
Set up a video call to see the classroom. You can do this with your child if they are older. It will be fun for them to see their classroom and meet their teacher. They may even be excited to play with the toys or meet the class pet. Feel free to ask questions about their schedule, typical activities, and where they go to play outside.
Tip 3: Prep the night before
The last thing you want is to feel overwhelmed and forget something on the first day. You will want to have that extra 5 minutes at drop off to say goodbye. Set out clothes and all the supplies your child will need for their first day, the night before. Get your child involved by picking out their outfit and their naptime belongings.
Tip 4: Talk to your child about the first day
Even if your child is not talking yet, they will still understand. Explain what their day might look like. Tell them what you are excited to hear about after their first day. Let them know that you will be back to pick them up at the end of the day. All these topics will help them feel more at ease for their first day.
Tip 5: Have a positive attitude
Drop off may be emotional for both you and your child. Remember to be positive. Children are very keen on sensing an adult’s emotions. If you appear nervous, it may be more difficult for your child to feel at ease when you leave. Set a routine and stick to it – a hug and a kiss, a high five, a wave from the window before getting in your car, etc.
Tip 6: Call for updates
Feel free to call the school on the first day and throughout the week to check-in. Naptime is always a good time because the teacher will have more free time to talk and share how the morning went.