The first day of preschool is often a traumatic event, but usually not for the child. Sure, they might scream and cry when you say goodbye, but ask any preschool teacher and you'll know that your child will often almost completely forget you exist five minutes after their tears have dried. They're having too much fun making new friends, learning to share, and discovering, "Wow, mummy! Did you know that preschool has a slide?" For the parent, on the other hand, those first few days on your own can be filled with worry, especially if it's your first time. Here are three things you can do to be sure you've sent your child off with all the tools they need to have a blast.
1. Do your research
The best thing you can do as a parent is know everything there is to know about the school in question. You'll feel more confident if you can picture what your child is doing and the environment they're doing it in. Most preschools have open days at some point, but if they don't, or if you miss it, don't hesitate to ask for a tour. Quiz your guide on what their learning philosophy is (are your kids primarily there to learn or play? Hopefully both), and their normal routine. Remember that in the weeks leading up to their first day, your child will probably ask questions about what the classroom looks like, where they will put their stuff, whether they get to go outside and, of course, what they'll be doing. You'll both feel better if you know the answer in advance, and you might be able to calm some nerves.
2. Get up early
On the day, you'll want to leave yourself plenty of time to get through the morning routine. No one likes rushing, but especially not on the first day. Get up early so you can relax over breakfast, soothe any nerves, accommodate outfit changes, and go back for whatever vital toy you forgot. Stress spreads, and the less you have to worry about time, the less you'll worry about everything else.
3. Fuel them up
Food is energy for your kids, and you want them to have the right kind. Though it might be tempting to give them a special treat breakfast for their first day, avoid the sugary cereals. You want something low GI that will give your kids lasting energy throughout the day - no one wants to get sleepy from a sugar low when they're trying to make their very first pasta necklace, after all. Good foods for lasting fuel include baked beans on toast, eggs on toast, wholegrain cereals, muesli, fruit, and yogurt. Try coming up with a couple of options and letting them choose between them as their special "first day of preschool" breakfast plan.
And one extra: Treat yourself!
Well done! You got your kid off to preschool! They're well fed, well informed, perfectly safe, and on time. Do something nice for yourself as a reward (and to take your mind off worrying, if you're that way inclined). Plan something you know you'll like, even if it's as simple as stopping by a nice cafe on the way to work. Your little one is finally growing up and giving you some time to yourself. Even if you'll miss them, you might as well enjoy it.