Taking your child off to preschool may raise some issues — for both of you. To ease the separation anxiety, include your child in the shopping process so she will feel nurtured by the special objects that accompany her. Below is a purchase list for your fast-growing tot who’s embarking on a long education adventure. A preschooler’s list of needs is a little different than those going off to big-kid school. Some of these things may never come to your mind, but you’ll be glad to know in advance!
Pillow, blanket, mat, sleeping bag, binky: If your child is at preschool all day, nap time is generally required. Many schools provide bedding, but if your little one snoozes easier with familiar cozies, send them along, fully labeled. Using your own bedding also helps deter the lice infestations that are rampant in this age group. If your child is addicted to a pacifier, aka binky or 170 other nicknames, include that, as well.
Slippers: Preschools occasionally require slippers as “indoor shoes.” Purchase a pair that is warm and definitely nonslip.
Smock or old T-shirt. It would be good to have this on hand when the teacher knows the project could get messy.
Extra clothes: Accidents occur constantly in preschool, especially if your child is active. Your precious one’s clothes can be suddenly soaked with finger paint, spilled beverages, or a lapse in potty training. Include extras in all apparel, especially pants, plus a jacket or sweater in case the weather changes. Label all clothes so frazzled teachers know what cubby it belongs in.
Pull-ups: Slip two or three into the backpack, even if your child insists it’s not necessary. Better safe than sorry, particularly on field trips. Pull-ups only, please; no diapers! Preschool teachers don’t want to wrestle with Velcro or safety pins. If your little half-trained one insists on proudly wearing underpants, put them on over the pull-ups.
Wipes: Don’t pinch pennies on this item. Buy the heavy duty ones in bulk and pack them in your child’s bag liberally.
Tissues: You don’t want your kid’s cute little face covered with boogers all day. Stop the snot by loading in Kleenex, and teaching your kid how to sneeze. Explain “germ theory” too, to reduce illness.
Hand sanitizer: Every preschool has several bottles in every room, but it’s considerate to toss another one in your child’s backpack, right on top where staff can find it.
Photo from home: When your child misses you, tell them to gaze at your smiling adoring face in the photograph that you sequestered in their backpack. Aww…
Your little one may not need these yet, but they might enjoy feeling grownup. Check with your school and teacher to see if they are allowed and at all necessary.
Backpack: It’s good to note that some schools do not permit rolling backpacks. Put a label on it with your child’s name, your child’s school, and phone numbers for both you and the school.
Box for storing items: This is good to have just in case the kids get things to call their own while in the classroom space.
Lunchbox or bag: Get whatever he wants to keep him cheerful and to encourage his appetite. Soft-sided boxes are easier to pack than their metal rivals, and plastic bento boxes with their mini-compartments are popular. To keep the food crispy, buy refreezable ice packs; to keep soup or mac n’ cheese warm get insulated food containers. Label their lunchbox.
Water bottle: Seek one that is spill-proof. Consider a stainless steel bottle instead of plastic to avoid bisphenol A, hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, birth defects and cancer. However, many bottles are BPA-free; look for the label. Also, put your child’s name on the bottle.
The other supplies
Usually preschools are stocked with oodles of art and educational supplies, but certainly ask your school or teacher if you should provide any glue, paint, paper, pencils, crayons, etc. It’s a good idea to stock up on these items at home, too, to keep the creativity going and growing.
From the looks of the things, consider adding a labeler to your list to make sure things that went to school with Liam don’t go home with Lily.
See the school supply list for starting kindergarten, too.