The first day of preschool is bound to be a bit choppy for your family, but a little planning and a good attitude will go a long way toward reducing turbulence. Clear the decks for the inaugural morning by doing as much advance legwork as possible. The night before, set out your child's clothes and plan an easy breakfast. "Most important, leave the house early enough to get to school with plenty of time to spare," em?pha?s?izes Wendy Lieberman, a teacher at KinderCare Learning Center in Cincinnati. "If you're rushing around, your child will pick up on the stress."
But once you get to school, keep your goodbye ritual short and sweet. "Although the teacher may let you stay for a little while, avoid doing open-ended activities like drawing together because your child may keep insisting that she's not finished yet," says Deborah Kaufman, head teacher at Temple Emanu-El preschool in Sarasota, Florida.
Always exit on a positive note: Give your child a big hug, tell her you'll be back at pickup time, and leave. In fact, you can bookend your child's first day -- and every other school day -- with good vibes. At pickup, call attention to the fact that you came back as promised, and ask your child to tell you about what she did that day. "If possible, talk to the teacher, find out what your child was excited about, and bring it up on the way home," says Johnson. "Say something like, 'It sounds like you loved the painting table -- maybe you can do that again tomorrow!'"