Checklist: What to Pack for the First Day of Preschool
August 23, 2021
It’s actually happening—your little one is heading off to school! Dropping your child off at preschool can be stressful, of course, regardless of whether your tot has been in daycare for years or at home with a parent. But being fully prepared can go a long way in easing your anxiety.
If your child is enrolled in a preschool program, chances are you’ve already run through the preschool skills checklist to ensure your little one is developmentally ready. It’s also smart to establish a relationship with the school early on, says Jaclyn Carnazza, owner and director of Kids Connect in Montville, New Jersey. That might be scheduling a time to tour the school with your child, so they can see where they’ll be spending their days, or even letting your little one spend a couple hours in the class to see how they do when separated from you. Last but not least, you’ll need to stock up all the essentials your child will need for that first day of school. (Don’t forget to label everything with your child’s name!)
The school will likely provide a checklist of things to bring, but here are the usual items you’ll want to pack for the first day of preschool:
Not only can you pack your child’s backpack with the day’s necessities, but the teachers can also use it to send home artwork and school notices.
Pack plenty of snacks so your kid doesn’t go hungry! You may have to come up with some nut-free options, depending on the school’s food policy.
Unless the school provides it, you’ll need to send drinks along with any meals and snacks.
Whether it’s a sippy cup or simply something spill-proof, pick a water bottle your child can easily open on their own. They’ll need to stay hydrated with all that running around!
Preschoolers aren’t known for their careful cleanliness, so pack an extra (seasonally appropriate) outfit, including a second pair of socks. Don’t forget to also pack a resealable plastic bag your child’s teacher can use for dirty clothing!
Even if your child is potty-trained, accidents are bound to happen.
Face masks will likely be with us for a while as scientists work to uncover more about the coronavirus. Depending on the program’s policies, you’ll likely want to pack extra masks to keep your child protected—after all, what with messy meals and hands-on crafts, your kiddo’s face covering is bound to get soiled at some point in the day.
Check your school’s policy, since some programs prefer kids to wear indoor-only shoes or grippy slippers in the classroom to keep things clean.
Some classrooms are equipped with cots, while others ask parents to send a nap mat, sheet and blanket. Ask what should be on your list.
Packing your child’s favorite stuffed animal or other comfort item, like a lovey, can help ease preschool jitters. Tip: If forgetting said comfort item at school would lead to a full-blown bedtime disaster, have one for home and one for school, or pick a second-favorite item to pack.
If the school doesn’t supply them, you may need to pack a smock, box of crayons, glue sticks and the like.
Whether it’s winter or summer, the sun’s strong rays can still wreak havoc. You’ll want to make sure your child brings sunscreen with them to school for reapplication as the day goes on.
Alert the school ahead of time if your child needs any daily medication or has any allergies.
Starting preschool can be tough, for you and your child. But the good news is it’ll get easier, fast. “If a preschool is providing an appropriate environment, which begins with loving, nurturing teachers and caregivers, I promise the adjustment period will take no longer than two weeks, when kids will be excited to enter the classroom and engage with their peers!” Carnazza says.