General Tips to Prepare for the First Day

Talk with your child and encourage excitement to return to their friends, favorite teachers, and their fun filled days at school. If possible, show them pictures of their friends and teachers (Facebook pages are a great place to look!) to remind them of the fun and faces they have missed.

Read – Here are some of our favorite books about going to school that may help build excitement and reduce anxiety:

·       The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

·       Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes

·       First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg

·       Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Calendar Fun
– Take time each day leading up to your return to school to have “Calendar time.”  Count down the days to return to school based on the communications from your directors.  Talk about the routine and schedule for your family to practice getting up a bit earlier each day so that you can smoothly transition back into the routine.

Dress the Part – Allow your child to pick out their first day outfit, or maybe fancy first day outfits for the entire family!  Have a First Day Back Fashion Show and please share the pictures with us!  You can post them on our Facebook page or send via email.

Prepare and Pack the Night Before – Prepare a bag as if it were your child’s very first day at the school and prepare a bag with extra clothing, diapers, bottles, bottle tops, food, etc.  For health and sanitary purposes, we will be sending home any clothing or items left at the school prior to close for you to launder and clean so sending new items will ensure your child has everything he or she needs during the day.

Something to Hold – Help your child prepare a small picture book or choose a small item from home to bring to school to keep in their backpack or cubby.  Talk about a ritual that you would want to do each day to help with separation and create a plan. You could print and prepare some photos in a small book with some memories you made while you were out so your child can share with their friends and they may not miss home so much.

Be an Emotions Role Model for Your Child – It’s completely normal for you to be anxious or scared returning to school and “normal” routines after such an unprecedented event like we have lived through over the past few weeks, but it can be confusing to a child if you are tearful or sad when you explain how exciting it is that they are going back to school.

Prepare Children for Changes at School – Unfortunately, the school routine your child remembers will be a bit different when you return.  We will ask you to answer a few health questions and take your child’s temperature at the door or in the front lobby to ensure he/she is healthy.  The School Director or a teacher will escort your child to their classroom to reduce traffic in and out of the school.  Teachers may be wearing long sleeved shirts or other protective equipment (including masks if a teacher chooses) and that will be unfamiliar as well.  These changes will be easier for your child to accept if you can talk to them about it beforehand in an age appropriate way.  Assure your child that teachers are dressing a certain way to keep themselves and all the children healthy and safe.

Additional Resources for Parents

Easing First Day Jitters – National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
Talking to Children about COVID-19 – CDC
Positive Parenting & COVID-19: 10 Tips to Help Keep the Calm at Home