Going from Early Intervention (age 0-3) which was held at our own home to preschool meant that I had to think about what Owen would need for "just in case" times. Since Owen has never been to daycare, this was a new experience for me. Some things I had to think about were what kind of backpack would be best, how to best identify his possessions without marking tags up too much, how to build in time for Owen to do some things on his own (like putting on some of his clothing, putting on his own shoes, and getting his backpack on himself), how to organize all the stuff and put it at Owen's level for him to be successful doing these things on his own.
One of the first things I did was buy a hanging closet organizer. On Sundays I would choose the week's outfits and put one on each shelf, complete with socks and a diaper. If your child cares more about what s/he wears, you can do this together. It totally cuts down on time trying to decide and if your child can dress her/himself, all they have to do is go to the shelf and put their clothes on. I laminated pieces of paper with the days of the week on them and glued them to the front of each shelf. Owen doesn't quite get the concept, but he likes looking at the letters! I continued with this during the summer too; it's just another thing I don't really have to think about when it's all done.
When it came time to send in extra clothes for those oops moments, I wanted a way to identify his clothing, but I didn't want to write on the tags. I often send Owen's old clothing to friends or I sell it on Craig's List or at local consignment events. Because of that, I didn't want everything to be written on. I found a great, fun solution: Name Bubbles! You can design your labels with fun backgrounds, monograms, and colors. They have square, round, and other shapes/designs as well as labels you can write on yourself. They also have laundry and dishwasher safe labels too. Beyond that they have a special preschool label package with everything you need for school year prep (there's also a daycare pack and a school pack for bigger kids!). They have recently added medical alert labels (specific ones for allergies and Autism too). I have never had a label fall off, yet I can remove them very easily when I am done using them. I also put them inside shoes, boots, mittens and clips, and winter hats. I can't tell you how many times his teacher and aides would thank me for ID'ing his belongings--they said he was the easiest to dress this winter because they knew every piece that belonged to him!
|I use the small ones for clothing and inside shoes; the big ones for bags|
|Since this is at his level, Owen has learned to hang up his stuff and put his shoes away|
The last thing that seemed to make our mornings (and rest of the day!) go smoothly was a daily calendar. I made this myself, using construction paper, pics I got off the internet, and some self-laminating sheets* that I bought from Michael's. We started using this during the summer and it was just really helpful for Owen to see what was happening each day and where he would be going. He really likes finding the correct day (I will say to him the day and tell him what letter it starts with and then help him with the T and S days) and he enjoys trying to find the correct picture for the day's activity/activities. In general, he just loves words and so having the words on the pictures is something he likes to look at! (I'll try to take a pic of it soon and add it here!)
*A little trick for the self-laminating sheets from Michael's--they come in rolls. So unfurl them, lay them flat with heavy books on top of them for about 2 days. Then they'll be much easier to work with and you can then cut them down to the size you need.* Also you'll find them in the scrapbooking area of the store.
Hopefully these ideas help make sending your kiddo(s) off to preschool/school a bit easier!
If you've got a great tip to share, please leave a comment. I would love more ideas, especially for going to school all day (I have no clue about the whole lunch thing yet!) and keeping everything organized.