My five-year-old son graduated from preschool in June and will be headed off to Kindergarten soon.
At the same time, my three-year-old daughter will begin her preschool experience. This time around, I know everything that my child will need in order to be ready for preschool. As a novice preschool mother with my son, I had thought that we were pretty well prepared, but I was wrong.
I will share my mistakes and hope that they will help you avoid similar pitfalls.
My first piece of advice is to do a practice run of packing a lunch and then having your child eat it. I struggled at the beginning of the school year with figuring out what food to pack. Everything that my son liked to eat either seemed to be non-portable or against the school’s dietary guidelines. For example, I couldn’t send Nutella sandwiches due to allergies, so I assumed that my child would love cookie butter sandwiches instead. He took one bite at school and refused to ever try it again. I had to try out many different foods until I hit on a couple of options that worked, such as apple butter with graham crackers or shredded rotisserie chicken. I was also shocked that for the first week, my son’s cheese sticks came home unopened and uneaten. He usually devoured them at home, but it turned out that he had a difficult time opening the wrapper at preschool. Once I began partially opening the plastic wrapper before packing the cheese sticks in his lunchbox, he started eating them every time.
I would have avoided most of this food drama if I had simply thought to do a test run of school lunches. I am certainly going to do one with my daughter this year!
Another thing to practice with your children is getting their outerwear on and off by themselves. My son really struggled with putting on and zipping up his coat when he started preschool. I was usually in such a hurry to get out of the house in the winter that I would just zip his coat himself. Much frustration followed at preschool when he had to deal with his coat by himself. My son had also never put on snow pants by himself before. The school tries to send the children outside as often as possible, so he had to quickly learn how to handle snow pants. My son doesn’t deal well with frustration, so I really should have practiced putting on these articles of clothing at home, where there was no pressure to hurry up or embarrassment from being surrounded by friends.
Definitely don’t send your children to preschool in their best clothes.
My son came home covered in a wide assortment of things, from paint to mud to milk. He even had to change his shirt one day because it was covered in snot. Gross! I’m a big fan of finding used clothing at yard sales or second-hand stores. When I don’t spend much money on the clothes, I don’t get so upset when my son stains them the very first time he wears them. Also be prepared to send a spare set of clothing to preschool. My kid is rather messy, so I was able to change out his spare clothes to follow the seasons when I had to replace them. However, my super messy child did not manage to ever need his spare pair of shoes in his entire two year preschool experience. For that reason, I suggest that you send a used pair of shoes. If that’s not an option, I would send a pair of shoes that are a bit too big so that your child can wear the shoes after the school year is over. If you send a brand new pair of shoes in your child’s current size, he might outgrow them without ever getting a chance to wear them.
I hope that sharing my mistakes will help make your transition to preschool a little easier. Ultimately, any little problems at preschool can be solved by communicating often with the teachers and your child.