The first day of school in your child’s life is filled with anticipation and a bit of fear. Some children are not used to being away from mommy or daddy for long periods of time and this can cause them great anxiety and fear. Check out my first day of school activities, tips and favorite first day of school books to prepare your child.
There are a few ways to help ease your child into a new school routine and help build the excitement for school.
First day of school activities
I’ve done a video of my 10 tips here:
Tip 1: Download Hap Palmer’s song, My Mommy Comes Back. I have it on my iPhone and we play it often.
Be careful when you watch the video though, it may make you mommy’s tear up a bit… it happens to me every time I watch it. It just reminds your child that they can have fun while you are gone and that mommy will never forget them.. they will always come back. When your child gets scared at school, the song will mentally play in their mind and re-inforce that mommy is coming back soon.
The lyrics are beautiful.
My Mommy Comes Back Lyrics By Hap Palmer
Sometimes my mommy takes me over
To another friends house to play
Sometimes I only stay a little while
Sometimes I stay all day, but
My mommy comes back
She always comes back
She always comes back to get me
My mommy comes back
She always comes back
She never would forget me
Sometimes I worry when she leaves me
I hope she won’t be gone too long
But when I’m with my friends and having fun
I soon forget she’s gone, and
Sometimes I visit with my grandma
While my mommy goes somewhere
We bake some cookies and we read a book
And rock in the rocking chair, and
Tip 2: Read first day of school books that speak to your child’s fears and emotions.
Reading books together is a loving way to ease your child into learning school routines, vocabulary and see other children/character’s emotions. There are so many books that you can find at your local library, many of which we get and read. Books are amongst my favorite first day of school activities and I suggest you read these first day of school books throughout the whole first month of school. Your child will relate to different pictures, vocabulary words and scenes at different times.
I love the following books and have placed them in order of my love for them.. these are the ones I own and keep at home. First being favorite and down the list it goes:
- Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney – Every single child of mine absolutely adored Llama Llama, especially the book Llama Llama Misses Mama. The author’s most famous book is Llama Llama Red Pajama, but for us.. the version of missing mama is our favorite. The author writes in simple short words that really touches your heartstrings. You truly feel for Llama Llama. The pictures are perfect and I think every child should have this book. You can see his fears, “Strange new teacher, strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise… Llama Llama feels so new.” We also have the Llama Llama plush toy. I LOVE the animated Mama Llama talking stuffed animal. If I saw it when I had my first child, I definitely would have purchased it.
- DW’s Guide To Preschool by March Brown – My two year old daughter was starting preschool and I found this book at our local library. I took it home and we looked through the pictures and read it together. At that age, she wasn’t very interested in all the words of the story (maybe just a few pages) but she couldn’t get her eyes away from the pictures. For a little child they are going through so many emotions while starting school and looking at all the children, what they are doing and how they are feeling has really helped her through the transition of school.
She goes through the pictures with me and explains to me who is crying, why they are crying and how they should know that Mommy is coming back soon!
She also loves to see that some children are painting, using the potty, reading stories and singing songs. The book showcases activities that happen in school on a daily basis like circle time, pretend play, singing time, playground time, etc.
I had to renew this one from the library so many times because this is the book she would grab every single night. Instead of renewing it again I looked for it on Amazon and found a wonderful gently used copy! If it is sold out, try here or look at your local library.
- The Pigeon Has To Go To School – Mo Willem books are hilarious, fun, witty and absolutely perfect for young children. Children will giggle so much. Why does pigeon have to go to school? What if he learns too much?!
- Fancy Nancy JoJo’s First Day Jitters – this one is perfect for children who love lift the flap books. I think 3 year olds will love it as much as 6 year olds. Fancy Nancy’s sister JoJo will be starting Kindergarten soon and she is so nervous. Fancy Nancy talks to her about all the fancy things you can do at school. My 5 year old absolutely adores this book.
- First Day Jitters By Julie Danneberg – Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared to go to school. She doesn’t know anyone and has a lot of anxiety about the first day of school. She tries her best to delay going to school that morning with every excuse possible but at the end she learns that it’s not only children who are anxious about starting a new school year too. Here are some cool related activities for school.
- The Invisible String by Patrice Karst is a book that was actually written in order to alleviate the authors own child of the separation anxiety of going to school. The message here is heartwarming. We are always connected to those we love by a special invisible string. Our hearts feel tugs when someone is thinking of us and no matter what, we are always together.
- Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish. Amelia is SO excited about school. She is so enthusiastic and reminds me a lot of my own young daughter. I think children can relate and see all the hilarious things Amelia Bedelia does and says.
- How To Get Your Teacher Ready by Jean Reagan and Illustrated by Lee Wildish is a funny how to book. Teachers are learning too. I love that this book puts the child in the upper hand position and helps them feel in charge and gives them a sense of responsibility. Rather than worrying about how to get themselves ready for school, they get to be the “adult” and help their teacher. It’s a cute book.
Tip 3: If you know anyone who has a child in the same class, set up a playdate in advance.
Not knowing anyone is difficult for children who constantly crave connection. If there is another friend in class, then your child will feel a sense of comfort.
Tip 4: Make a cute lunch for the first day of school
One of my favorite first day of school activities as a mom is creating these sweet themed Grade Back To School Lunch for my children last year and it was such fun. You can check out the blog post to see what I used inside. See my post on How To Pack Bento School Lunches Quickly
Tip 5: Include a lunchbox note.
It can be as simple as saying, “I am SO proud of you! I can’t wait to pick you up in a little while.” You could use some of these Preschool Valentines Lunchbox Notes.
Making cute lunches is a great way to find a connection with your child throughout the school day. Check out my Lunch For Kids post for more lunchbox ideas.
Tip 6: Get a small cake, cupcake or present as a celebration of the first day.
Children will feel so celebrated and accomplished with that little celebration. Start a new family tradition as your yearly first day of school activities. Make it special for your littleones.
Tip 7: Get your child into a routine by using sequencing activities
Kids Schedule Morning Routine For School and bedtime routine are great for helping your children find a new routine. My suggestion though is to start the routine at least a week or two before the actual start of school.
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Tip 8: Don’t cry in front of your child on their first day of school.
I know some mom’s get that feeling of needing to cry and tear up a bit as your child goes off to their first day of school but don’t cry in front of your child. Seeing you crying gives your child a sense or feeling that something is wrong. It will associate school with something negative.
Tip 9: Do back to school activities
My printable back to school activities help children get familiar with vocabulary from around the classroom. This also gets their minds thinking and active.
Tip 10: Get them excited with back to school supplies.
Choosing a cute backpack, lunch bag and school supplies is half the fun! I have a post all about my favorite backpacks : Pottery Barn Backpacks Review. I also have suggestions for the best lunchboxes for kids and my favorite lunchbox accessories. If your child is not in private school then check out my Back to School Clothes Shopping Tips.
Don’t forget to take first day of school pictures!
While this is not a tip to ease your child’s day in school, it’s just a reminder I want to give you.
Do you have any tips to add for those with little ones either starting school for the first time or who are going back to school?