Creating a tear-free goodbye at the start of school

(ARA) -The start of school can be an anxious time for both parents and children. Whether starting in the fall or transitioning to a new school mid-year, many parents face first-day jitters from the anticipation, excitement and anxiety about what to expect, especially if they have preschoolers who are starting school for the first time. Good news: Preschool teachers know just how to help both parents – and their little ones – navigate the first few days of school, and make the transition smoother for everyone.

One of the nation’s largest providers of preschool and early education, KinderCare, tapped its expert network of preschool teachers to offer parents a crash course in “Preschool 101″ – providing simple tips and helpful hints that are sure to make the preschool experience not only manageable but memorable.

Kick off the school year with a regular routine

Having a routine is essential to getting into the school groove. “Because young children are learning to tell time and navigate the days of the week, their sense of security is heightened through predictable routines. Security is essential when dealing with separation anxiety,” says Megan Riede, senior director, education programs for KinderCare. “Waking up in the morning, leaving your home, saying your goodbyes in the same way each day, and picking your child up from school at the same time of day will provide much-needed consistency. Even as your adult routine occasionally changes, try to keep your child’s routine the same or be sure to tell him or her ahead of time if anything is going to change.”

Say no to tardiness

Teachers invest the necessary time to prepare and start the school day promptly; running late may fluster your child and can disrupt the class. Everyone wins when children have time to settle in at school and are ready to learn. “We encourage parents to have their children arrive early and ready to start the school day,” says Lisa Andersen, a teacher at KinderCare in Westmont, Ill. “When children participate in the teacher’s daily morning introduction or circle time, they know what to expect and become familiar with the day’s or week’s activities.”

Ready, set, read

Having books at home and reading to children daily – beginning in infancy – is one of the most important activities a parent can do to prepare their young child for school and future academic success. Sharing a story or reading a book with your child, even just a few minutes a day, enhances language and literacy development – in essence, the ability to read and write. Get a brother, sister or grandparent involved too, and make reading a family affair. Become a “reading model” for your child by demonstrating your own interest in books and reading. Visit to learn about promoting story time with children and placing books in the hands of children in need.

Build a relationship with your child’s teacher

According to a recent Back-to-Preschool survey by KinderCare, quality, passionate teachers are the most important factor for parents when choosing a preschool (62 percent) followed by a balanced approach to learning (53 percent). When looking for and selecting a preschool for your child, take time to visit the school, ask the teacher questions and allow yourself and your child the chance to explore the classroom. After school starts, take a look at what your child is learning at school and bring that experience home. Getting to know your child’s teacher and spending a few minutes in class is a great way to learn about what goes on at school and show your child how much you care about what he or she is doing.

Share family news

Teachers want to know what’s going on in a child’s life outside of school. Knowing that a favorite pet is sick or a new baby brother was born can help a teacher understand sudden temper and behavior changes or the inability to focus. Let your child’s teacher know about any significant changes (positive and negative) in your child’s life in a private meeting that won’t disrupt the school day routine.

For more resources on finding the best preschool for your child, tips on reading and survey findings visit