Goodbye Without Tears: Sending My First Born to Preschool



The time is here, the time for my first born baby to start his school journey. This milestone has been greatly anticipated by both of us with lots of excitement, anxiety, joy and holding back tears. He now won’t be referred to as my toddler but now my preschooler. I am worried not about my preschooler’s separation anxiety (he lost that about a year ago), but about my own. I have spent the last three years teaching him rules, routines, how to share, how to play, nice ways to talk, good manners, etc. and now it’s time to send him off into the world all alone! Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic, but you get the idea. It is hard to leave our babies! It’s hard even when we are leaving them with people we trust, whether you are sending your child to mom’s morning out a few hours per week or to daycare full-time.

I know sending him to preschool will be the best thing for him and for me and is the right decision for our family. He is so ready to meet new friends, grow socially, emotionally and cognitively, and gain independence. I know I am ready for this time we will spend apart as well.  I believe that sending him to preschool will help me to be a better mom by taking care of my responsibilities while he’s in school, giving me some one-on-one time with his little sister that she hasn’t been able to have yet, and also to have more patience for when he is home. Anyone with a three year old knows that this age takes a lot of patience and keeps you on your toes during the day!

In my former life before becoming a mom I was a teacher, so for the past few weeks I have been trying to think of ways that I can make this transition the easiest for our family. Here are some tips I put together on ways to make the first day of school easier for everyone.

1. Prepare your child by reading books about going to school and visiting the school before the first day. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is my favorite first day of school book.

2. The best thing to remember is kids are adaptable and sometimes do better at school following the rules than they do at home. My three year old doesn’t listen to much that I say, so this is my hope at least 😉 I also always had parents telling me how well their child behaves at school compared to home.  If you think your child may have trouble adjusting to the school year talk to the teacher. Let them know your worries. Communication with your child’s teacher is so important.

3. Prepare a comfort item if your child has separation anxiety. This could be a photo of your family that they can keep in their backpack, or a favorite toy or blanket.

4. Remain positive and try not to shed any tears in front of your preschooler. If you’re nervous, sad or anxious dropping off your child on the first day, your child will sense it. Try to remain upbeat and calm, but once you’re back in the car let those tears flow! I know I will be balling my eyes out!

Liam's first backpack. Be still my heart.
Liam’s first backpack. Be still my heart.

Are you sending a child to school for the first time this year?

How did you help prepare your little ones for school?