Stepping into Preschool
I've been getting lots of DMs lately about how hard or not so hard it was to send Arabella off to school + on Arabella's parrot dress. I thought I would write about what we did with Arabella to ease the transition for the whole family!
Last year these are some of the things we did before her 1st Step school program started. If your like us, no nanny, not a lot of sitters and I'm a stay at home mom. Arabella was VERY attached to say the least so I knew this was not going to be easy!
- Talk about, read books, watch informative "cartoons" about school. We started talking about and playing school when we signed up for the program. Role playing with Arabella has always helped her to understand basic concepts. We had a few books that talked about going to school that were all positive messages (here,here+here are a few). There is also a great Daniel Tiger episode (here) about going to school.
- Back to school shop together. This was something I loved doing with my mom growing up. The first year she got to pick a back pack and some basics and this year we did a little dress, shoe and accessories shopping.
- Meet your teachers, stay and play! Right before we start each year (1st step + preschool) we go in as a family and met Arabella's teachers. She got to play and talk with her teachers and we also got to meet and talk with them.
- Make positive memories at school. If you have time go to the school playground & library and spend time playing, reading and having fun.
If your little one still doesn't like school and needs more
For most kids the above is plenty to get them in the swing of school. However if your little one is anything like Arabella it might take a little more convincing that school is actually really fun. These are some of the extra things we did with her to get her to that point.
- End on a positive note. Even if there are tears after pick up, stick around and play and leave on a positive note.
- Gummies after class. I would pack a cute after school treat in an irresistible bag (like this) and show Arabella on the way to school and let her know after class she gets a yummy treat! It was maybe a few gummies with a few m&ms or something simple. It just gave her something to look forward to while at school. I would also bring a healthy snack and milk.
- Shorten hours. With Arabella we ended up shortening her hours and working up to the full class schedule as things progressively got better. She only went to school 2 days a week so this took some time. By the time Friday came around and she was loving school she had a whole week to feel the school jitters again. It probably took us a month to be on the regular schedule but that was only 8 class days.
- Find the drop off sweet spot. Some kids do best when they are one of the first ones to arrive for the day. For Arabella she did better coming last, she didn't like seeing all the drop offs and the commotion of the kids transitioning in for the day.
- Ask teachers for the daily routine. Most classes are run the same every day. Music, snack, outside, gym, book, etc in the same routine every time the class meets. Go over the routine with your little one so they know what to expect and feel like they have a little more control over their day. Throw and then "mom comes back" on the end.
- Talk to friends. This is more common than you think! I never forget the conversation I had with one of my besties telling me to stick with it, and it will all work out, with lots of examples from her experience!
- Set up play dates outside of class. If you or your childs caregiver has time, set up a play date with kids in the class. Invite one or a few over for free play or lunch, or meet in the park!
- dont give up! All kids get there. I thought we wouldn't but we did and now Arabella loves school!
- Thank your teachers! Teachers have it so hard already and it's with much gratitude when they are willing to go the extra mile with our little ones. I made sure to let the teachers know I was so happy for their help!
Onto the outfit details
the parrot dress and other similar concepts and style
...and for Winn because she is basically a student always coming with to drop off and pick up
...and because im just all the sudden really into parrots, for the family
Accessorize (packpacks, notebooks, jackets, etc)
There you have it-- already 3 and in preschool. It has been a lot easier this year but her schedule is now 5 mornings a week and double the hours each day. She likes school but it will take time to get to her fully loving it again, once she is acquainted with the new kids, new teachers and new schedule. I hope this was informative and will help you and your little one ease the jitters!