Pre-K is an exciting world of shapes, colors, new friends, and new experiences. However for the mom of a child entering Pre-K, there’s no doubt that this time of year can be stressful. The thought of sending your little one out into the big wild world of school can sound daunting.
This year my youngest child is anxiously awaiting his first day of Pre-K. He is ecstatic to start school with his buddies, and I feel like this go-round we are ready to seize the day.
This feeling of being prepared for school is a complete 180 degree shift from when my older son started Pre-K three years ago. There were so many things that I wish that I had known and been better equipped for. I was overwhelmingly under-prepared.
And we all had a rough transition.
There’s tons of articles online about what academic facts kids should know when they enter Pre-K, but it’s harder to track down the other stuff. You know, the nitty gritty things that moms wish they had known about or had thought of to work on before the big day.
But I’ve got your back, fellow Pre-K mom, and I’m sharing with you a guide to maneuvering this new exciting world of school:
1. Know the class schedule
This will help schedule things like doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and random other things that will inevitably pop up throughout the year. Getting a class schedule will be super helpful because it can be trickier and more time consuming to check children out of class during things like recess, PE, lunchtime, or nap time.
2. Listen to the teacher about what’s okay to bring and what’s not
I guarantee that there’s a rhyme and a reason why the teacher tells you not to send something. Also, if the teacher requests that you send only name brand crayons, only send the name brand crayons. We all know that not all school supplies are created equal. I’m looking at YOU, Rose Art.
3. Meet the teacher night is probably not the best time to voice any important concerns that pertain to your child
There’s a ton of hustle and bustle that evening so find a time that works with the teacher’s schedule or see what the best communication method is to chat. The teacher cares about your child’s needs, but he/she meets so many new faces that night that it might be tricky for her to remember exactly what you said.
4. Practice opening their lunchbox
This is a big one. From opening crackers to unzipping baggies, lunchtime maybe a whole new world to your Pre-K kid. Make sure that you send food and lunch boxes that are easy for little fingers to maneuver so lunchtime doesn’t become overwhelming to them. Or their teachers – *wink*
One thing I didn’t know before my older child started school was I needed to send a daily snack. Now, this does vary classroom to classroom, so finding out snack protocol beforehand will ensure that your little Pre-Ker won’t be without a snack on the big day. I know snacks seem like a tiny thing, but hey, when you’re four-years-old, snacks are LIFE.
6. Know your car line route
Check out where you drop off and pick up. Remember that MTV show “Boiling Points”? Car lines will make you feel like you are guest starring in your very own episode. However, knowing exactly where you’re going, how far to pull up, and understanding car line etiquette will help take the stress out of this situation. Also, practice having your child buckle and unbuckle his or her car seat. This will save time in the line. And trust me. You will want to get the heck out of there as quickly as possible.
7. Bathroom independence
Let’s face it. This one completely stinks. Bathroom independence is a tricky subject to master. Unbuttoning pants, wiping their own bottom, and not waiting too long to use the bathroom are essential skills that kids need to develop now that they will be using the bathroom on their own.
8. There will be a heck of a lot of things to volunteer for
Don’t feel obligated to do them all. But try and branch out and volunteer for things here and there if your schedule allows. It’s a great way to meet the parents of your kid’s friends and stay plugged in to your community.
9. Discuss Separation Anxiety
If your little one has never been away from mom, the idea may be intimidating to them. Reading books about school, talking about their teachers, and coming up with a quick goodbye ritual can help with separation anxiety. My four-year-old and I have had many discussions about how I’m going to drop him off, but as soon as school is over, I’ll be right back there to pick him up!
10. It’s okay to cry
This one goes for you and your Pre-K kiddo. Drop off’s will get easier and the transition into school will eventually go smoother. The first couple days and weeks might be emotional, but eventually everyone will get the hang of it. Pre-K is such a fun experience and your child will have a great year.