There’s more than one way to have a happy first day of school.
The inevitable cry-off.
This is one big day for everyone.
And, um, can we just take a moment to work out how on earth this day arrived so quickly?
How is this allowed?
You want to make it special.
You want to ensure that they have the best time.
You want them to want to go back again the next day.
Eek. The pressure.
First, we say, embrace the all big feels!
If you’re both overcome with emotion, that’s totally fine — it’s all par for the course, mama.
With that in mind, here’s a bit of a framework to make things a little easier.
In this article: 📝
- Why is the first day of school so important?
- How does it feel on the first day of school?
- How do you make the first day of school special?
- What are some first day of school books?
- How do you wish a good first day of school?
- What’s a good gift for a teacher on the first day of school?
Why is the first day of school so important?
This is a big transition.
And big transitions sometimes come with tears.
Also, there’s no “right” way to do this thing.
Some kids are going to be utterly thrilled to start on their long journey through the education system.
Others are going to wonder why on earth you’re putting them through this torture.
Basically, what one kid needs is by no means what all kids need.
You know your child.
You know what they need on this day.
How does it feel on the first day of school?
Well, it’s not uncommon to feel pretty much all the emotions on your child’s first day of school.
And this goes for both of you!
You could both be excited, nervous, confident, scared… all at once!
So it’s perfectly natural to shed a few tears, even if it’s just from the overwhelm.
Here are a few of our Peanut moms’ experiences of their children’s first day of school, so you know you’re not alone:
- “My kiddo started pre-K a couple of weeks ago. She loves it! I think I was most worried about her behaving and making friends but she doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.” ‒ Sidney
- “My little dude starts preschool next week and I know he’ll love it but I’m always worried about other kids breaking his confidence and just bullying in general. He’s gentle and always happy and I just hate the idea of that good nature being crushed by some spiteful children.” ‒ Jessica
- “I was happy to see my eldest go! He was needing something to occupy him!” ‒ Keirra
- “My 4-year-old started pre-K this school year and I was terrified because he’s always been just a smidge behind his peers, socially and academically. But I’m so proud of him because he is thriving on having a routine. Turns out I had nothing to worry about!” ‒ Tiffany
- “My son started pre-k last week. I’m so proud of him. So far he’s adjusting better than me!” ‒ Takeyma
- “My girl started kindergarten today. She is a social bug so she did well. Just worried about the waking up so early part and adjusting to a new routine for both of us.” ‒ Nancy
- “When my son first started school I was at home constantly looking at the clock counting down. After a few days it became normal.” ‒ Marie
- “Today was our first official day and luckily I was able to get all the way back to the car before I started crying.” ‒ Kirby
- “My kids dropped me like a hot potato today as I cried my eyes out while they walked into their first school for the first time. I miss them so much and it’s only been 2 hours.” ‒ Nailah
How will I survive my child’s first day of school?
We get it, it can be hard.
More free time sounds great, sure.
But we know it can be tough to be away from someone who’s been by your side for… well, years!
Our top tip on how to get through their first day of school, or even the start of a new academic year?
Keep yourself busy, mama.
How do you make the first day of school special?
It’s going to be special.
Even (and maybe, especially) if emotions run high.
Here are some tips to help you make the day even more memorable:
- Make the prep work exciting. Involve them in lunchbox shopping, collecting supplies, etc. You don’t have to do the slog work behind the scenes.
- Get them something special to bring to school. A pencil case with their favorite character, a new backpack, or a new book (we’ve got some great ideas below).
3.- Get reviews from older kids. Whether it’s a sibling, a family friend, or a neighbor, there’s nothing like getting the lowdown from someone who has recently experienced it all.
- Create something tangible as a keepsake. Before and after photos are a great idea. Record the experience in words. What did they say when you dropped them off? What was the trip to school like? What were their first words when you picked them up? It’ll be fun to look back on all this in years to come.
- Leave them a message in their lunch box. A little note or a special trinket can go a long way.
- Deep breaths help. A lot. (This one’s for you and them.)
- Help them make friends before school. It’s always easier to go through a major shift with a friend by your side (it’s scientifically proven!).
What are some first day of school books?
We want to make sure our children feel excited and prepared, so what better way to do that than with a good book as a first day of school gift?
Even just having books can help your kid’s mind to grow.
8. How Are You Feeling Today? by Molly Potter (illustrated by Sarah Jennings)
Brace yourself, mama, because your kid is about to discover a whole spectrum of emotions, from the delightful ‘happy’ to the oh-so-familiar ’angry’.
But don’t fret, because How Are You Today? is here to equip you and your child with the tools you need to navigate this emotional rollercoaster without ending up in a puddle of tears (well, maybe a few, but that’s okay!).
Written by Early Years and well-being expert Molly Potter, it’s packed full of helpful insights into emotional literacy at the back, along with a Feelings Tracker for your child to chart their emotional journey.
It’ll put them in good stead for their new school year, but also for all the big feelings throughout their early years.
The author herself put it best: “Talking to kids for 5 minutes a day about feelings is as important for their wellbeing as eating vegetables or cleaning their teeth.”.
So take 5, cuddle up together, and get emotional, baby!
9. A Letter From Your Teacher: On the First Day of School by Shannon Olsen (illustrated by Sandie Sonke)
A sweet book written to remind your kid that their teacher’s there to help guide them through this next part of their life.
10. Stanley the Dog: The First Day of School by Bobby Bones (illustrated by Stephanie Laberis)
A hilarious and heartwarming story to remind your kiddo that embracing your quirks and being yourself is key to navigating new experiences and making a splash.
11. School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex (illustrated by Christian Robinson)
It’s the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary, and the whole place is buzzing with excitement and a dash of nervousness — even the school.
A unique first day of school book that flips the script.
12. First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg (illustrated by Judy Love)
This adorable book follows Emily as she navigates the newness of school and makes new friends.
13. Mae’s First Day of School by Kate Berube
Mae’s determined that she’s not going to school for the first time.
But once she meets some new friends, it doesn’t seem quite so scary anymore.
A different sort of first day of school book, validating your child’s feelings and helping them get through it.
14. On the First Day of Kindergarten by Tish Rabe (illustrated by Laura Hughes)
A twist on the classic “Twelve Days of Christmas”, but for the first day of kindergarten.
15. Dear Teacher by Amy Husband
An imaginative, innovative book that shows your kid just how much fun they could have at school.
16. Curious George’s First Day of School by H. A. Rey
Everyone’s favorite inquisitive monkey, now at school for the first time.
17. Mina’s First Day of School by Katrina Liu (illustrated by Anselm Medina)
A brilliant bilingual book for Chinese-speakers or those who want to learn.
18. Lucky Redhead Rosy’s First Day of School by Jessica Mitchell (illustrated by Jitumoni Goswami)
Got a redhead prepping for their first day of school?
This is the book for them!
19. Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese (illustrated by Juana Medina)
For the kid who just won’t admit that they’re nervous — it’s their shoes that are the nervy ones!
20. Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish (illustrated by Lynne Avril)
The perfect pick for the feisty, imaginative child as a first day of school book.
21. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
If your child is sharing lots of “what ifs” for their first day of school, this book helps them understand that things aren’t usually as scary as they seem.
22. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (illustrated by Ruth Harper)
It’s more common than you think.
This sweet book reminds your kid (and you) that you’re always there, even if they can’t see you.
23. Chu’s First Day at School by Neil Gaiman (illustrated by Adam Rex)
A fantastic read-aloud first day of school book, with giggles, sneezes, and a cute panda.
What more could you want?
24. Topsy and Tim: Start School by Jean Adamson
Got twins starting kindie for the first time?
They’ll love this one.
25. Peppa Pig: George’s First Day at Playgroup by Neville Astley and Mark Baker
If there’s a kid that doesn’t love Peppa Pig, we haven’t met them yet.
26. Phoenix Goes to School by Michelle and Phoenix Finch
An inclusive and empowering book that breaks down the concept of gender diversity in a gentle and relatable way.
Phoenix, a transgender student, navigates their first day at school with courage and confidence, teaching others about acceptance and self-expression.
How do you wish a good first day of school?
There’s no one magic wish that can be copy-pasted into all families.
That being said, if the words are getting stuck in your throat (yep, totally normal), here’s some inspiration to help you out.
First day of school wishes
These make really sweet first day of school notes from mom for your kiddo to read when they’re at school.
Jot it down on a sticky note or small piece of paper, pop it in with their lunch, and they’ll love it.
- There are so many friends waiting to be made; so many games waiting to be played; so many lessons waiting to be learned. We love you.
- Wow! It’s your first day of school. So many adventures await. We can’t wait to hear all about them. You’re our superhero. See you soon.
- Do you even know how strong you are? You are going to do so well. Remember that whenever you need us, we’re here for you. We are so proud of you.
- You have brought us nothing but joy. I guess we should share some of it with your new friends. We love you and are so proud of you.
- New books, new friends, new adventures. Off you go! Look how brave you are. We love you so much.
- Your only job is to be yourself. And what a beautiful self that is. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to do. Good luck in kindergarten!
- We can’t wait to hear every little detail of how today goes. Now take that fairy dust and sparkle like only you know how.
- Be yourself, listen to others, and play your heart out. Those are the only rules. We love you.
- It’s official! When you go to bed tonight, you will be in big school. We are so proud of you.
- When I pick you up later, I want you to tell me the three magical things that happened today. Be on the lookout for them. There’s magic everywhere. We love you.
Happy first day of school quotes (for them)
And then, here’s some motivation to get you through:
- “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.” ― Dolly Parton
- “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ― A. A. Milne (Christopher Robin)
- “Be silly, be honest, be kind.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
40 “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde
- “No one is perfect―that’s why pencils have erasers.” ― Wolfgang Riebe
- “Anything is possible. Anything can be.” ― Shel Silverstein
- “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ― Aesop
- “Remember you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” — Snow White
- “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” — Henry Ford
- “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” ― Maya Angelou
First day of school quotes (for you)
There’s no denying this fresh start can be tough for you, too.
So here’s a little inspiration to get you through the day:
- “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein
- “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” ― Margaret Mead
- “Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” — Jess Lair
- “No kid is unsmart. Every kid’s a genius at something. Our job is to find it. And then encourage it.” ― Robin Sharma
- “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” — Seneca
- “Love is proved in letting go.” ― Cecil Day-Lewis
- “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
- “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” — James Baldwin
- “One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” — Jane Goodall
- “Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children.” — Princess Diana
What’s a good gift for a teacher on the first day of school?
The start of a new school year is like a whole new world, filled with fresh starts, exciting faces, and the promise of a bunch of fun learning adventures.
And who do we have to thank for all this amazing development?
If you want to show your gratitude for their dedication and passion, a thoughtful gift can be a lovely gesture that brightens their day and sets the tone for a positive and supportive classroom environment.
Not sure what to get?
Here are some ideas for thoughtful and appreciated gifts for your child’s teacher on their first day of school:
57. A personalized gift
Something just for them.
A mug, water bottle, or tote bag with their name or initials is a practical and thoughtful choice.
58. Art supplies
As much as we wish it weren’t true, so many teachers end up buying their own art supplies.
So give them a helping hand by supplying a few arts and crafts essentials for their classroom — crayons, pencils, non-toxic paints…
The sky’s the limit, as long as you check with them first and make sure they’re child-safe.
59. A self-care gift
Being a teacher can be exhausting — they often put their own needs aside to support our kids, so a gift that encourages self-care is a must.
Opt for a relaxing candle, at-home spa kit, journal, or a gift certificate to a massage or spa to help them unwind and recharge.
60. A potted plant or succulent
To add a touch of greenery and bring some of the outdoors to the classroom.
It’s great to teach the kids about looking after things, too.
61. Homemade treats
If money’s tight — or you make a mean cookie — how about some baked treats for teacher?
Sure, it might feel a little Stepford Wives, but it’s still a thoughtful gesture.
So as you embark on this new chapter in your kid’s life, remember that the first day of school isn’t just about your child; it’s about you too.
Embrace the jitters, the excitement, and the whole whirlwind of emotions that come with this new adventure.
And remember, you’re not alone in this journey.
We’re all in this together, and we’re talking about it on Peanut.
You can do this, mama — wishing you and your new student a very happy first day of school!