So, your kid's off to pre-school. It's a big step and you're bound to have a mix of excitement and nerves. We hear ya! We know the first day (and weeks) can be a bit of a rollercoaster but these tips will give you more ups than downs. (But bring the tissues and wear the waterproof mascara... just in case).
1. Organisation, organisation, organisation
Early morning starts and tots aren't the best combo…so be one step ahead on their first day. Lay out that outfit, pack up their bag, and get those shoes and coats by the door. It may seem like a no brainer, but trust us, with all the excitement and nerves of the big day it's easy to forget about the simple stuff. Walking to their new place? They'll need their scooter, don't forget that thing - it'll make getting them there a whole lot easier (and quicker).
2. Make it an adventure
Kids. They love excitement and adventure - don't we all. So make their first time at pre-school all about this. Talk to them about pre-school and what happens - mention the toys and all the painting they’ll get to do, or, if you can remember that far back, regale them of stories about your days. Alternatively, buy a specially written book all about the first day. We love the simply titled My First Day at Nursery School, which you can grab over at Amazon
3. Give them some comfort
For some kids, pre-school can be the first time that they've spent a chunk of time away from you - and their home, so let them take a piece of home with them. Their fave cuddle or blankie is a perfect way to help them feel like they aren't totally away from home. Just don't forget to stick their name on it and if you can, buy a spare too. If they have a blanket or comforter that's irreplaceable, then compromise. Take something equally as important to them. Their fave cup will do nicely.
4. Get familiar
We've all had first day nerves at new jobs, meeting other half's mates, the mother-in-law - you get the idea, so you can imagine how kids feel rocking up to a strange new nursery or pre-school and just being left there. Our advice... get them familiar before the big day. Loads of places let you have an induction day or week where you can visit for a few hours and familiarise your little one with their new surroundings, from where they'll be eating their lunch to where the loos are. Stay for the first few sessions then leave them for 30 mins at a time, extending it to an hour when you both feel comfortable. Chances are they'll be so busy playing they won't even notice you're not there.
Add to the excitement some more by finding out when the nursery has their breaks. If they do this outside, then pop along with your mini-me where you can watch all the children having fun. Just maybe pre-warn the nursery first...
5. Get the gear
A big adventure (like pre-school) calls for new gear and there's nothing like a dose of stuff to make them feel all special and grown up. A cool new tot sized backpack that they can put all their bits in, a new nursery outfit - don't forget velcro shoes to make their life easier - or a shiny new lunchbox they've chosen themselves. After all, everyone loves new kit.
6. Don't look back...
In an ideal world, they'll stroll into nursery or pre-school without a hint of clinginess, but we all know parenting isn't always that straightforward. If you've got a little one who's less than keen on leaving you, the key is to start firm. We know, it's easy for us to say this from behind a laptop, but it'll help in the long run. We did the whole cuddle and run with the now 5 year old. After the cuddle goodbye - which caused tears from him (and me) we left him in the hands of staff. Yes, we sat round the corner just in case, but after day 4 he was running in like nothing had happened. Yes, we still had a sob... but it doesn't count if no one can see you, right?
7. One for the parents...
We know how it goes. You're totally mixed with emotions. You're excited about a few hours of freedom for you and them, but feel guilty about it too. You're sad because your once ‘newborn’ is at nursery (where did the time go?) and it all feels like it's come around a bit too quickly. Sound familiar? Good news, it’s totally normal to feel like that. The answer? Try to relax and take your mind off it. Plan stuff to look forward to for the first week they're at nursery, whether it's brunch with your mates, a marathon run of that show on Netflix or, time at the gym. Having stuff to do will help take your mind off not having a mini-one in tow, and you know, you might kinda like it.
Image credit: Loopins #iamkidly