Saturday, September 7, 2013

Back to School Help

My little girl started her first day of Preschool last week and I have to say, it went down really well. No tears, and no meltdowns.  Of course I can't take all the credit, we do have the SAME teacher as last year, and the same school.  Luckily at our school her teacher teaches the 2 year olds T/TH and the 3's on M/W/F, so she was able to have the same amazing teacher.  It made for a really smoooth transition.

But what also helped was a little prep work. I am a little late on posting these tips, probably would have helped more last week for people to read about.  But better late than never:

1) Reading some school jitters books.  We still will be reading these the first few weeks  months as she goes to school.  She LOVES all books related to school.

Her favorite is the Llama Llama series: Llama Llama Misses Mama (from 7.99$). Llama goes off to preschool and misses his mama, but learns at the end that his mama always comes back for him. This is also good for daycare, Moms Day Outs, etc.

We also love reading  I Love You All Day Long (6.29$) about a little pig that doesn't want to go to school when he wakes up, but his mom explains through his day at school all the times she loves him, "I love you when you spill your juice". My little girl loves hearing this super cute story that teaches that even when your mom is not with you, she still loves and thinks about you all day long.

And of course we love the book series, 'The Night Before...' We still read The Night Before Mother's Day, one of my daughter's faves.  The Night Before Preschool (3.65$) is a sweet story about a boy not able to sleep the night before school, and I know that my child will continue to ask for it for it each night before bed the rest of the year :)

2) School Lunches.  Enough said right? Don't we all struggle with what to pack for our little picky nibblers?  If you are also like us, we have to pack a nut-free lunch, so no PBJ for us.  Sunflower butters so far have been the best alternative, but my daughter still isn't a huge fan. So we are left with finding alternatives to PBJ sandwiches for her lunches.

The first step is to pack the lunch the night before. If you aren't doing that already, then you need to start. It will make your life a WHOLE LOT easier!  And pack that sippy cup and put it in the fridge too.

For lunch ideas, I usually throw in raisins, applesauce, cheese sticks, crackers (bunnies), fruit such as blueberries, grapes, and strawberries.  But I had to research some blog sites to get some really good tips:

We love Weelicious.  Click here for her great school lunch ideas.  Some of her suggestions I think are a little more wishful thinking for the picky eaters.  If only my child would eat some of the goodies she has like a vegetable!  But I loved this idea of sushi sandwiches, that I would probably modify to make pimento cheese:

And we also bow down to The Pioneer Woman. She is just awesome, and wish I had her kitchen, then maybe I would be able to do more cooking.  She posted here recently for some great lunch inspirations.  

One of my faves she posted isn't for lunch at all, it's for the mornings you are rushing to get out the door with your kids and don't have time to sit down and feed them breakfast.  You know, the days where your toddler refuses to get dressed, doesn't want to brush her teeth and doesn't want you to brush her ratted out hair. So you are late and only have time to hand her a muffin in the car.  These muffins are packed with goodness like walnuts, raisins, flaxseed, bananas and applesauce.

And lastly, I found a good Lunch Box gallery of photos for inspiration. Like Pinterest on speed.  Here's one of 324 photos for lunch box ideas:

3) And for the last tip, it's all about organization.  Getting your child dressed, brushed teeth and hair, fed, and out the door.  As far as getting dressed, in our house it has to be pink or she will refuse to wear it.  We have found that picking out an outfit the night before is the best defense. One of the best organization ideas I found online was buying a shoe organizer at Target/Ikea, cutting the bottom off to fit your closet, and putting coordinating outfits in each hole (shorts/tshirt/socks). That way, you can avoid meltdowns and have your child pick out an outfit from the cubby to wear that day (the night before). And it helps to have your partner get your child dressed and not worry about them not matching :)  Or you can do what my friend does and have your child pick out an outfit the night before and sleep in it, that way they can wake up and go!

Do you guys have any other tips for preschool success?  

And yes, I know I didn't even get into the 'mental health' of preschool children getting off to school- what to do when they have the tantrums, crying spells, pleading you not to leave them at school, or begging not to go home.  You've become experts at that now right? You just pick them up and shove them in the car with a muffin in their mouths, turn up the radio and drop them off.  Just kidding.  But for some tips, you can read about my post on tantrums here. And remember to validate their feelings, and be sensitive to their clingy goodbyes. If you are anxious at drop off, they will be anxious too. Remember that they were babies only a couple of years ago, and still are learning how to regulate their feelings :)

Happy New School Year everyone!


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