First Day of Preschool: Tips For Parents

Is your child about to enter preschool? Here are some tips to get yourself and your little one ready for that all important ‘First Day’.

By V Saravana Kumar

First Day of Preschool: Tips For Parents

If you ask any mother of a preschooler about her child’s first day of preschool, she will most probably tell you that the day was a very traumatic one - not for the child, but for herself! It may sound strange, but it’s true. And the tension usually shows up as a bad attack of forgetfulness.

Take the example of Sowmya Mahendran, mother of a preschooler. Here’s how she remembers the ordeal she went through while getting her child ready for his first day at school:

“The day actually began well. I woke up an hour earlier than usual, and felt optimistic that the rest of the day would be great. But, alas, my happiness didn’t last long," she says.

“Trouble started right from the time I tried to wake up the hero of the day, my son Pranav, who was about to make his debut as a preschooler. Normally, he would get up after being called a couple of times, but on that day, he just refused to wake up and kept whimpering. My husband joined forces with me in trying to get Pranav out of bed, but we both failed miserably.

Thirty minutes and a series of attempts later, we finally managed to get Pranav up. The ordeal had left both my husband and me exhausted, and we rushed to the kitchen to recharge ourselves with some hot coffee. I began preparing breakfast as my husband got Pranav ready – I usually take the easier job, you know!

Finally, the all-important moment of starting out for school arrived. My husband had already left for work, and the duty of taking Pranav to begin his journey of education was mine. I led Pranav out of the house and was about to lock the front door when it struck me that I hadn’t taken his water bottle. I rushed back in, grabbed the bottle from the kitchen, ran back to the front door, only to realise that I had forgotten his lunch box too. Sprinting back inside, I found the lunch box sitting on the dining table. I scooped it up and scurried to the living room, where Pranav was waiting with growing restlessness.

It didn’t end there. I had forgotten so many things, that I had to run back and forth at least half-a-dozen times. By the time I was satisfied that I had gathered everything that was needed, I was totally worn out, and Pranav was on the verge of losing his patience. After reaching the school, completing all the First Day formalities and settling Pranav in his colourfully decorated classroom, I tottered out to the porch and sat on a bench there. I felt completely drained, overwhelmed by extreme tension and stress of a magnitude that I had not experienced even on my own first day at work.

The saving grace was that throughout the exercise, Pranav handled himself really well, without even a single whine, and showed great excitement and enthusiasm to attend his class.”

Soumya’s experience sounds quite nerve-racking, doesn’t it? If you are a parent with a child ready to enter preschool, her account of Pranav’s Day One may have left you feeling all hot and bothered. Well, don’t panic. Forgetting things and having to go back for them at the last minute is something everyone has done. And the problem is not an easy one to overcome. But it can be done. We bring you some words of wisdom from an expert who has first-hand knowledge of such issues. Latha Selvakumar, who runs a preschool in Coimbatore, has this to say:

“We all forget things easily when we are in a bit of a hurry. As teachers, we usually find that parents are more excited, and sometimes even more nervous than their children, on the first day of school. The only way to manage things efficiently is by planning ahead. Don’t worry, it doesn’t call for any war-like strategising. All you need is a simple checklist. I’ve created one for you. It will definitely save you a lot of tension. You can either save it on your mobile phone or take a hard copy.”

Here’s the checklist:

  • School uniform (make sure your child is dressed as per the school’s instructions)
  • Your child’s school admission card
  • Your child’s ID card
  • School bag (with all required books in it)
  • Pencil box (if needed)
  • A set of crayons
  • 2 cotton napkins
  • Lunch box (not required if the school provides lunch or if the child is not required to stay beyond lunch time)
  • Snacks box (not required if the school provides snacks)
  • Two bottles of water
  • A small pack of hand wipes or tissue paper
  • A spare set of clothes (in case your child soils her clothes)
  • A note to the teacher/caregiver with information about your child’s food preferences or allergies, if any
  • Medicines, if any (to be handed over to the teacher/ caregiver)

Being organised takes away a lot of the stress related to the First Day of School experience, and you’ll find that the milestone event will be relatively smooth both for you and your child. So, get set and go!