First Day of Preschool Checklist

The Top 10 Things To Do

Written by a Parent
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Do you remember your first day of preschool? Well, I do not. But I am sure many of you remember your little one's first day of school (those who have kids of course), just like I will remember my little boy's, for a long time to come. He probably did not realize how special an event it was. But I was nervous and excited days before he had to go; it seemed like I had to prepare for so much, quite a lot of it on the emotional front I guess. More than readying him, I had to prepare myself for this journey he was about to begin, which would continue for many years to come and would play a big part in shaping up his personality. I did some thinking earlier on and made a mental checklist of what I needed to do, and it did help me quite a bit. So here goes.

1. Mental Preparation

First and foremost, you and your kid both need to be ready for this! First target yourself :) You need to be prepared for your child to be away from you, in the care of others, even if its for a few hours everyday; of course, more so, if you are a stay-at-home mom. You have to understand that he will be learning many more things now, will be meeting more kids now and may in fact become naughtier :) Its all a part of the game, sigh, that is what I had to tell myself. It was not easy, let me tell you.

As far as your baby is concerned, its better to start preparing him/her earlier on so that he gets all excited about going to school. We took our little boy along with us when we started our survey of schools (step 2 below). This was a few months before he actually started going to school. We kept telling him how much fun it was going to be and how he would make many friends and play with them. The first day he was very happy and in fact, wasn't ready to come back home after school :)

2. Survey

Look around, ask around; find out about the good schools in your area. Its great if the school is near your house, for many reasons, but that of course is not the only criteria. The school needs to have a good reputation, especially if its a preparatory school, pre-school if you will, like we have where we live. Such schools are stepping stones to the proper school that your child will be enrolled into when he is around 4-5 years of age. Of course, this concept varies from place to place. Visit the schools, talk to their principals/Directors and check out what kind of schooling philosophy is in place, i.e., their ideas about learning, teaching concepts, aids, facilities etc. At this age, your child should be made to feel comfortable in school, as its his first step outside home, without you, especially true for kids with stay-at-home moms. I have selected a good school in the vicinity where learning is done through various kinds of fun activities without putting undue pressure on them.

3. Shopping

Next you make a small list of items you need to purchase and go shopping. Was one of my favorite parts of this whole exercise. Most likely, this would include a school bag, lunch box, water bottle/sipper, crayons and new clothes surely:) Make sure that you check with the teacher in charge about the things you need to put in his/her bag. They might have some tips for you such as sending napkins and a change of clothes/undergarments for smaller kids. Some schools may provide joining kits which include a school bag and some other stuff, so its better to check before you purchase.

It may be a good idea to take your kid along with you for the shopping in case he/she has his own choice of colors for his bag/bottle etc. And perhaps you could buy him/her a toy as a 'first day of school' gift :)

4. Labels

Make sure you label everything with your kid's name. Things are likely to get mixed up in school, so labeling is required. Sticky labels will do for bags, but for lunch boxes and water bottles, you need to write with permanent markers, as these things would be washed regularly. Though through personal experience, what works better than permanent markers is nail polish! (i.e. if you do not mind writing with it!)

5. Toilet Training

Oh now the scariest of them all :) I was really worried about this & am still worried to some extent. Though he has grasped everything pretty quickly, my son took a long time to get toilet-trained. We tried for long, but he got trained only about a month before he had to begin school and it was only at home that he did tell us. He wore diapers whenever we went out somewhere. Its better to keep reminding your child that when in school, he needs to inform his teacher when he wishes to go. Also, check when you are school hunting, what the school policy is about this point. Where we live, some schools do not allow diapers, and some do. Luckily, the school we chose was not rigid about it. I was advised to send him in diapers for the first week, and then without. They were ready to take care of wet accidents, and assured me that he would settle down in a few days. Its working out alright as of now, but I do have to send a change of clothes.

6. Lunch/Snack Box

No junk food! Its convenient, sure, but is unhealthy and if you give it sometime, the kid would take it for granted that he would always get to eat such stuff during snack time. Then, when you give something healthy, he might not eat it. Nowadays, teachers stress on healthy snacks too, so that kind of helps.

7. School Work

Make it a practice to check your child's bag when you take out his lunch box after school. More often than not, there will your child's school work that day (his drawings etc) in it and/or a teacher's note. This is more applicable to preschool kids I think. It will be very encouraging for the child if you appreciate the work he has done at school and also a good idea to keep his all work carefully. The set will serve as good memories later :)

8. Talk after school

After school, do spend time with your child and ask him/her what he/she did at school and listen to a whole list of things he will tell you. Its fun, isn't it, when they just babble on :) Some part of it you may not understand, depending on how old your child is, but its fun nevertheless plus it assures him that you are a part of his school life too.

9. Good word for the teachers

Time and again, put in a good word for the class teacher while talking to your kid. Tell him or her she is very nice and will take care of him and he should listen to her carefully. It will help the teacher.

10. Routine

Last but not the least, do not forget to set a routine for your kid. He/she should be sleeping early and getting up early. Try to set up the routine days before he starts going to school so that its easier for the child to adjust.


Bindiya Abbey spends time writing articles and running a small business online, while taking care of her 2.5 yr old son. She had worked for more than 8 years in Information Technology previously.