The No-Panic Guide to Preschool for First-Time Parents

As the parent of a child who is about to start preschool for the very first time, I wish someone had written a guide to preschool like this for me about six months ago! The first time your child goes away to school can be a nerve-wracking proposition. 

  • How do you know that your child will be safe? 
  • How do you know that your child will be nurtured? 
  • Can the both of you handle this huge transition? 
  • What if they cry when I leave?

Take a deep breath—everything is going to be ok!

Here are a few first-hand pro-tips that have helped me:

1. Take the time to ask ALL of your questions—even the crazy-sounding ones!

During my tour of the preschool we ultimately chose for our child, I spent over two hours with the director grilling her on all of my concerns. To her credit, she was completely patient with me and answered every one of my questions thoroughly and with compassion.

As a parent, your child’s preschool exists to serve your family. Do not hesitate to ask every question that comes to your mind. I arrived at my tours of various schools with a printed list of questions in-hand to make sure I didn’t forget anything that was important to me. If the school is a good fit, you will feel peace about the way every question was answered. 

2. Help your child get excited about school.

Starting preschool for the first time is an exciting experience, but it’s natural for your child to feel some apprehension about the coming change in routine. Here are a few ways to get your little one excited about starting school:

  • Let your child pick out their own special backpack and lunchbox.
  • Visit the school periodically (even just to drive by) so your child gets familiar with the new space.
  • Check out some books from your local library about starting school. Here are a few that we’re reading right now:
    • Ally-Saurus & the First Day of School by Rich Torrey
    • Ham and Pickles: First day of school by Nicole Rubel
    • It’s Your First Day of School, Annie Claire by Nancy White Carlstrom
    • Roar & Sparkles Go to School by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Pick out some fun new “school clothes” together.

Helping your child build joyful anticipation about the start of school can help the transition go as smoothly as possible.

3. Ask your child open-ended questions about school and how they are feeling.

As school approaches, your child might start to have questions and feelings about their first day they may not know how to articulate yet. By asking your child open-ended questions, you can help them to understand and process their own feelings about school and work to alleviate any anxieties they may be having.

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4. Remember, they will be OK (and so will you).

You worked hard choosing the right preschool for your child. You’ve done your due-diligence. Your child will be blessed and enriched by their teachers, new friends, and new experiences. And of course, their time in preschool will be the perfect transition to get them ready for kindergarten! Your child will be just fine, and so will you. 

If you are looking for the very best preschool fit for your child, we at Christ Chapel Academy would be delighted to meet you. Reach out to us anytime! 

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