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10 books to ease preschool jitters

There are literally hundreds of children’s books that will help prepare your 3- and 4-year-olds for their first day of preschool. Through colorful illustrations, relatable characters and fun, the stories can teach them what a school day might look like, addressing common concerns your little ones might have.

Did you love the pregnancy care book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff? The same author introduces school to you and your child in “What to Expect at Preschool.” Angus, the Answer Dog, fields questions such as “What’s preschool?” and “What will my classroom look like?”

“The Night Before Preschool” by Natasha Wing looks at how nervousness [and later, excitement] affects sleep on, you guessed it, the night before the first day of preschool.

A familiar character for parents and kids alike shares a fun-filled day in “Maisy Goes to Preschool” by Lucy Cousins. From its first sentence – “Today is a very good day for Maisy” – to its satisfying end, this colorful book assures little ones that there is nothing to fear.

But for many preschoolers, the fear is real.

“Wemberly Worried,” by Kevin Henkes shares the story of Wemberly, a little mouse who worries morning, noon and night. For Wemberly, the first day of school is particularly frightening until she meets a fellow worrywart and learns that, with a friend by your side, school is nothing to worry about.

But “will I have a friend?” That’s the question asked in the book of the same name by Miriam Cohen. Pa assures Jim that he will, but Jim is not so sure. The other children seem like scary strangers until he finally finds a friend.

The thought of making friends and learning new things can be overwhelming.

In “I Don’t Want to Go to School” by Stephanie Blake, Simon the Super Rabbit is convinced he really doesn’t want to go to school. “No way!” he declares. But mom and dad have other plans and soon Simon begins to see that school has possibilities.

In a book by the same name, “I Don’t Want to Go to School” by Nancy Pando, LICSW, Honey Maloo tries everything to stay home. Thankfully her mom, teachers and friends help her discover that school can be fun even if you didn’t want to leave your mom.

Missing mom is nothing new unless it’s new to you.

“Llama Llama Misses Mama” by Anna Dewdney sweetly acknowledges the anxiety a little one might have regarding whether Mama is returning to pick him up. [Spoiler alert: She does!]

“I Love You All Day Long” by Francesca Rusackas, also addressed the issue of parental separation and reinforces that a parent’s love stays with a child all day long.

And, if truth be told, sometimes it’s not the child that is feeling anxious about being apart.

“Dad’s First Day” by Mike Wohnoutka gives a glimpse into how parents share in the excitement and anxiety of the first-day jitters.

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