you remember your first day of preschool? Well, I do not. But I
am sure many of you remember your little one's first day of school
(those who have kids of course), just like I will remember my little
boy's, for a long time to come. He probably did not realize how
special an event it was. But I was nervous and excited days before
he had to go; it seemed like I had to prepare for so much, quite
a lot of it on the emotional front I guess. More than readying him,
I had to prepare myself for this journey he was about to begin,
which would continue for many years to come and would play a big
part in shaping up his personality. I did some thinking earlier
on and made a mental checklist of what I needed to do, and it did
help me quite a bit. So here goes.
and foremost, you and your kid both need to be ready for this! First
target yourself :) You need to be prepared for your child to be
away from you, in the care of others, even if its for a few hours
everyday; of course, more so, if you are a stay-at-home mom. You
have to understand that he will be learning many more things now,
will be meeting more kids now and may in fact become naughtier :)
Its all a part of the game, sigh, that is what I had to tell myself.
It was not easy, let me tell you.
far as your baby is concerned, its better to start preparing him/her
earlier on so that he gets all excited about going to school. We
took our little boy along with us when we started our survey of
schools (step 2 below). This was a few months before he actually
started going to school. We kept telling him how much fun it was
going to be and how he would make many friends and play with them.
The first day he was very happy and in fact, wasn't ready to come
back home after school :)
around, ask around; find out about the good schools in your area.
Its great if the school is near your house, for many reasons, but
that of course is not the only criteria. The school
needs to have a good reputation, especially if its a preparatory
if you will, like we have where we live. Such schools are stepping
stones to the proper school that your child will be enrolled into
when he is around 4-5 years of age. Of course, this concept varies
from place to place. Visit the schools, talk to their principals/Directors
and check out what kind of schooling philosophy is in place, i.e.,
their ideas about learning, teaching concepts, aids, facilities
etc. At this age, your child should be made to feel comfortable
in school, as its his first step outside home, without you, especially
true for kids with stay-at-home moms. I have selected a good school
in the vicinity where learning is done through various kinds of
fun activities without putting undue pressure on them.
you make a small list of items you need to purchase and go shopping.
Was one of my favorite parts of this whole exercise. Most likely,
this would include a school bag, lunch box, water bottle/sipper,
crayons and new clothes surely:) Make sure that you check with the
teacher in charge about the things you need to put in his/her bag.
They might have some tips for you such as sending napkins and a
change of clothes/undergarments for smaller kids. Some schools may
provide joining kits which include a school bag and some other stuff,
so its better to check before you purchase.
may be a good idea to take your kid along with you for the shopping
in case he/she has his own choice of colors for his bag/bottle
etc. And perhaps you could buy him/her a toy as a 'first day of
school' gift :)
sure you label everything with your kid's name. Things are likely
to get mixed up in school, so labeling is required. Sticky labels
will do for bags, but for lunch boxes and water bottles, you need
to write with permanent markers, as these things would be washed
regularly. Though through personal experience, what works better
than permanent markers is nail polish! (i.e. if you do not mind
writing with it!)
now the scariest of them all :) I was really worried about this
& am still worried to some extent. Though he has grasped everything
pretty quickly, my son took a long time to get toilet-trained. We
tried for long, but he got trained only about a month before he
had to begin school and it was only at home that he did tell us.
He wore diapers whenever we went out somewhere. Its better to keep
reminding your child that when in school, he needs to inform his
teacher when he wishes to go. Also, check when you are school hunting,
what the school policy is about this point. Where we live, some
schools do not allow diapers, and some do. Luckily, the school we
chose was not rigid about it. I was advised to send him in diapers
for the first week, and then without. They were ready to take care
of wet accidents, and assured me that he would settle down in a
few days. Its working out alright as of now, but I do have to send
a change of clothes.
junk food! Its convenient, sure, but is unhealthy and if you give
it sometime, the kid would take it for granted that he would always
get to eat such stuff during snack time. Then, when you give something
healthy, he might not eat it. Nowadays, teachers stress on healthy
snacks too, so that kind of helps.
it a practice to check your child's bag when you take out his lunch
box after school. More often than not, there will your child's school
work that day (his drawings etc) in it and/or a teacher's note.
This is more applicable to preschool kids I think. It will be very
encouraging for the child if you appreciate the work he has done
at school and also a good idea to keep his all work carefully. The
set will serve as good memories later :)
Talk after school
school, do spend time with your child and ask him/her what he/she
did at school and listen to a whole list of things he will tell
you. Its fun, isn't it, when they just babble on :) Some part of
it you may not understand, depending on how old your child is, but
its fun nevertheless plus it assures him that you are a part of
his school life too.
Good word for the teachers
and again, put in a good word for the class teacher while talking
to your kid. Tell him or her she is very nice and will take care
of him and he should listen to her carefully. It will help the teacher.
but not the least, do not forget to set a routine for your kid.
He/she should be sleeping early and getting up early. Try to set
up the routine days before he starts going to school so that its
easier for the child to adjust.