Helping Kids Overcome First-Day Fears

Dad dropping off son

We know that the first day of school can be exciting. But it can also be scary. That’s why we wrote our first Kiddie Academy® book, “Day One is Fun!” It’s a book parents and children can read together to help prepare families to make that first day less intimidating and more enjoyable.

“Day One is Fun!” features bright and playful drawings by New York Times best-selling illustrator, Daniel Wiseman. It tells the story of a child’s fun first day at Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care. You can get a complimentary copy of the book when you tour your local Academy.

We also asked some of our Kiddie Academy first-day experts for additional advice about some things you can do to help make the transition go smoothly:

  1. Allow your child an opportunity to visit the classroom or school before their first day.
  2. When you talk to your child about school, use the classroom teacher’s name in discussion about the approaching first day.
  3. Depending on the age of child, allow them to pick out clothes and get prepared for school the night before.
  4. The morning of school, have breakfast together and discuss the day.
  5. Remind the child that you will be back to pick them up and when the parent leaves, always say, “Goodbye,” do not sneak away.
  6. Parents need to check their own emotions about the day because they will have mixed emotions about leaving their child also. They need to make sure that the child does not feel their stress or anxiety because the child co-regulates with the parents’ emotions. If they can sort through their big feelings then they can provide a positive, strong, calm front on the first day for their child. This will ease any fears the child may have about this new adventure.
  7. Encourage children to bring a picture of their family or a special item from home to keep in their book bag or cubby to view or carry as they go about their first day.
  8. Prior to the first day, help your child practice typical preschool routines at home such as washing hands, rest time, lunch time, etc.
  9. Make it a habit to have a goodbye ritual with your child such as a call-and-response song, a saying or a fun handshake.

In addition to “Day One is Fun!” our experts recommended several other books you and your child can read together.

More books to build excitement for the first day at Kiddie Academy:

A Kissing Hand for Chester Raccoon,” by Audrey Penn

Bye Bye Time,” by Elizabeth Verdick

Llama Llama Misses Mama,” by Anna Dewdney

All Are Welcome,” by Alexandra Penfold

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten,” by Joseph Slate

Maisy Goes to Preschool: A Maisy First Experiences Book,” by Lucy Cousins

The Night Before Preschool,” by Natasha Wing

First Day of School,” by Anne Rockwell

Preschool Day Hooray!” by Linda Leopold Strauss

My First Day of School,” by Michelle Medlock Adams

Pete the Kitty’s First Day of Preschool,” by Kimberly and James Dean

Andre Goes to School,” by Mikaela Wilson