Parenting

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Back to School Essentials for the Preschool Set

back_to_school_preschool_tips_toddler_800In many parts of the country, August means summer is unofficially over and a new school year is about to begin. Our summer break whizzed by at breakneck speed, but time flies when you’re having fun, right? For families with preschoolers, it may be their first time experiencing back to school bliss. Whether your little one is a seasoned scholar or heading into his very first first day of school, check out our ideas to help make the transition exciting and stress-free.

Gear Up

There’s something exhilarating about fresh notebooks and school supplies (is it just me?). Kids are never too young to get involved in back to school shopping. In my experience, participation and enthusiasm go hand in hand. Help them pick out their own gear and watch the excitement unfold. Little ones love expressing their not-so-little personalities, and what better way to do so than through new lunchboxes, backpacks, and pencil cases? If you’re concerned that too many choices might overwhelm, you can do some pre-selecting based on their individual tastes, then present a handful of options online. They’ll still appreciate having a say, and anticipating a special shipment is always fun.

Upgrade Mealtime

Building a better lunchbox goes a bit further than packing healthy eats, which is a given. Let this be the year you ditch the disposable plastic bag, once and for all! Reusable snack bags or containers from Munchkin’s innovative Snack Catcher® collection are the better and smarter way to go. Our Snack Catchers are eco-friendly and available in durable stainless steel or BPA-free plastic in a variety of fun colors and character designs that truly speak to the preschool set. More must-haves to round out your little one’s lunchbox: a fun set of toddler utensils (Paw Patrol, anyone?) to bring a piece of home to school, and a great kids’ water bottle, because hydration is key. Check out our comprehensive guide to sippy cups to find the one right for your child. From straw cups and kids’ sports bottles to spill-proof spoutless cups, Munchkin is sure to have your preschool-perfect cup.

Start New TraditionS

There’s nothing like a fun tradition to cement happy childhood memories. Why not usher in the new school year with a celebration that echoes New Year’s Eve? It’s a new year, after all. As a child, I always felt butterflies-in-my-stomach anticipation the night before school began. Capture that feeling with your very own School Year’s Eve party the night before a new school year! It doesn’t have to be extravagant to feel special – plus it’s an annual event, so it’s something they can look forward to year after year.

Chances are, you have some New Year’s Eve paraphernalia lying around. A Happy New Year sign, hats, and noisemakers are often enough to get kids giddy with excitement. No NYE leftovers? You can still get dressed up, enjoy a favorite meal, and toast to the new school year with sparkling lemonade served in “fancy” plastic goblets. Confetti and balloons can also enhance that celebratory vibe. The dollar store can be a great resource for pre-inflated options that feel especially festive and fun, like silver and gold star-shaped balloons (perfect, right?). You could even send them on a mini scavenger hunt for stickers and school supplies. If you don’t want to go all out, you can embrace a much simpler back to school tradition, like going out for ice cream after dinner. The point is to celebrate the transition from vacation to school and to make it more special than the typical weeknight (there will be more than enough of those soon).

Capture the Moments

No first day of school is complete without a photo to document the newest chapter in their lives. It’s especially fun to do a first and last day photo in the same spot to see how much they’ve grown (the side-by-side comparisons shock me every year)! Eliminate unnecessary stress by reminding yourself that your snap doesn’t have to be Pinterest-worthy (unless that’s your thing, of course). Yours can be as simple as a pic of your kids at the school’s entrance or your own front door with their backpacks on. You can just as easily capture the milestone with a printed sign documenting your little one’s day (there are plenty of printable first day of school signs online). Or, if she’s old enough, have her write her name, age, grade level and year on a chalkboard sign or piece of construction paper as your prop. Lastly, try not to get so caught up that you forget to take a photo with YOU in it, too. We could all be better about that!

The first few days or weeks of preschool can involve lots of anxiety and tears as little ones (and let’s face it, their parents) adjust to a new normal. It can be difficult and distressing at first, but kids are resilient — and so are you! Patience, positivity, and hugs should help ease the transition for all. Happy 2018-19 school year!

Ani Morgan

Ani is an award-winning writer and content strategist who has been the voice of many brands for 15+ years. When she’s not busy crafting stories, she's baking healthy treats for her kids or finding her sanity on a spin bike. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two kids.