Oh my they’re going to preschool in the Fall! Any time I do something for the first time it’s stressful and I remember when ours were starting school how panicked I was over being prepared. Plus if you shop now, you’re sure to find the best deals! Here’s the top 5 list of what ended up being the most important things in our daily routine now that our little ones have started preschool:
When I first toured preschools and saw tiny children with ginormous back packs I vowed to get the smaller size for our kids. But I quickly realized they needed a bigger back pack to easily take things in and out by themselves. The backpack carries their lunch box and water bottle plus artwork, crafts and teacher communication and little fingers don’t work that well on tight squeezes. We also like it to have an outside pocket for their water bottle so they can easily grab their drink throughout the day and hydrate. There are many options for affordable back packs and we don’t spend much because honestly they get beat up and our child loves choosing a new one each year. I shop for Kids Backpacks on Amazon and spend $12-$15 each. If you want high-quality, fancy there’s nothing better than Pottery Barn kids but you will pay for it. Their clearance section does have deals so check out their sale section if you want that look on a budget.
Lunch Box & Food Storage Containers
When I say infinite options on lunch boxes and food storage containers it’s no exaggeration. I started researching food storage containers and these are the 5 questions I had to answer for myself: 1) stainless steel or plastic, 2) Bento style or multiple containers, 3) will it last the school year (spend less) or last several years (spend more), 4) how will the food be kept cold, 5) will it wash easily, is it dishwasher safe? You already know you’ll be cleaning these out and refilling them daily so thinking through my own preferences was helpful. I found this list of 20 lunch boxes from Care.com to be quite helpful in reviewing options. After days of asking Mommy friends and pondering I decided on the Mackenzie lunch box from Pottery Barn Kids. They had some cute ones in the sale section and with monogramming and free shipping they were around $20 each. Yes it’s more than I typically spend but I think they will last a few years. For food storage I went with the Rubbermaid LunchBlox. I like that the containers snap onto the frozen ice pack to keep things cold. It’s also nice to have various sizes of containers depending on what we pack that day. The plastic is BPA-free and while I usually wash by hand they seem to hold up well with the occasional toss in the dishwasher.
Washable labels with our child’s name is the best money I spent on preschool preparations! You want your child’s name on everything that goes to school that is, if you would like it to come back home! These labels are super durable and can even go through the laundry machine and dishwasher! We placed them on their back pack, lunch box, water bottle, food containers (lids and bottoms), forks, everywhere. Labels are also helpful on clothing items they may remove during the day like jackets or sweatshirts. Oh and when it’s show and tell we can easily label their favorite book or stuffed animal. The convenience of having a pack of labels ready to go is worth every penny. We ordered from LabelDaddy.com and have been so happy with their prices, product offerings and quality. Subscribe to their email and you will get 10% your first order. They also have great sales and offers throughout the year so look for that deal if you love saving as much as I do!
Shoes (the right kind!)
One of the awesome things about preschool is that our children learned to consistently put on their own shoes and socks! At home sometimes they say “I can’t do it!” when they just don’t feel like it. But at school they teachers require them to try their best and keep working at this skill. The key component for their success is having shoes and socks that are easy to get on by themselves. Velcro closures or slip-ons work best. Also socks with contrasting color heels and toes help them align the sock and get the foot in the right way. We’re helping our preschooler by sending them to school in shoes that are easy to get on. Our son has super wide feet and was determined to have light-up Spiderman sneakers. Well we got him the widest ones available but they still were very difficult for him to get on by himself. It was so hard to watch him struggle each day! He was frustrated and we thank goodness we were eventually able to move him into a much easier fitting shoe. Now he beams with pride about getting his own shoes off and on! For preschoolers its these small accomplishments that make their day so we just say “no” to lace up shoes right now.
Can you say GERMS GERMS GERMS??!! Exposure to new viruses and colds is one of the greatest challenges in sending your child to school. You may experience ongoing runny noses and never-ending coughs that the entire class (and teachers) all have. Oh and get excited because you will probably also get the bugs and enjoy ongoing snozzles!! My husband and I always seem to get it worse that the kids, do! While there’s nothing you can do to limit exposure (except keep them home) there is a trick that will strengthen your little ones immune system and seem to give them an edge when fighting off the germs. To stop viruses from spreading use a high-quality, essential oil blend that’s a mixture of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils, each containing powerful antiviral, antibiotic, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. We use Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living and the price on Amazon is a bit high. I recommend buying from one of their local reps (like my friend, Julie) for better prices. We apply a tiny drop to each child (on the center of their upper back where they can’t reach) and do this daily. We start right away, before cold and flu season even kicks in, and truly feel it minimizes their sick time. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil (safer for children under 6). For detailed information about Thieves Oil, why it works and how to safely use it please read this wonderful by these reputable, natural living bloggers, The Soft Landing.
Once our child has congestion we use peppermint essential oil to ease the symptoms. It’s amazing how quickly one sniff of peppermint oil will give our children relief from a stuffy nose. Of course we also dilute the oil and then apply it to places on their body where they can’t touch it. If they accidentally get it on their fingers and then rub their eyes, nose or mouth UH OH you will have one unhappy kiddo. We like to rub it on their feet and then put on socks or the center of the back or chest. Just a drop mixed with coconut oil is enough. If they resist you can just have them take a sniff right out of the bottle. We also use diffuse peppermint at night to help them sleep. We use the SpaMister oil diffuser from Green Air and it cost around $30 but there are many shapes, colors and sizes so choose your oil diffuser here. I simply can’t say enough about the use of these two essential oils to keep our children healthy and provide symptom relief and hope it helps.
What else are you buying to prepare for preschool? We’d love to expand this list with your ideas!
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