No matter how old your child is, sending them off to day care can be incredibly scary for both of you. Whether you kid craves the independence or clings to your legs, but it's always hard on you as a parent. Reading is a great way to prepare for any part of life, which is why there are books every parent should read their child before starting day care to make the transition as seamless as possible.
I know — it's just day care. Your kid is going to play games, take a nap, and eat chicken nuggets and fruit cups. It's not like you're shipping them off to another country. But it is the first step towards your child's independence. Your kid will now have time spent completely away from you. They will hear, do, and say things that have nothing to do with you, and that's huge. I mean, you might as well be dropping them off at college with their laptop bag instead of a diaper bag.
OK — so it's not that huge. But it is a big milestone and a big change, so whether your kid is totally amped for the day or dreading every moment, here are 11 books to read before they start day care to reassure them, excite them, and comfort them.
1. 'The Kissing Hand' by Audrey Penn
Day care can be incredibly scary, especially if it's the first time your little one has really been away from you. Read them The Kissing Hand so they can be reassured all day that your love is right there for them. The story follows a little raccoon, scared of his first day of school, and the tradition his mother teaches him so that he knows she is always with him. It is incredibly sweet and will help give your child some security and comfort.
2. 'Llama Llama Time To Share' by Anna Dewdney
3. 'Bye-Bye Time' by Elizabeth Verdick
Saying goodbye is hard, especially for toddlers. The book, Bye-Bye Time, shares sweet rituals to help children understand what goodbye means and make it less traumatic for them. It's also an easy read which means you can turn to it again and again if your child needs another boost of confidence when saying goodbye.
4. 'I Love You All Day Long' by Francesca Rusackas
5. 'Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon' by Patty Lovell
Any time a child is getting ready to interact with other kids, it's a good idea to read them a book about bullies and standing up for yourself. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is a delightful story about a little girl being picked on, but refusing to let any of it shake her confidence. It will give your kid the reassurance they need to remember that they are awesome and that they shouldn't let anyone take it away from them.
6. 'Do Unto Otters' by Laurie Keller
7. 'Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You' by Nancy Tillman
Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You is the perfect book to read anytime your little one is going to be away from you. The sweet story tells your children that no matter where they go, no matter how they're feeling, their parents' love is right there with them throughout the entire day.
8. 'The Wonderful Things You Will Be' by Emily Winfield Martin
Day care is a huge milestone, and it can leave you feeling excited about all of the things your children are going to grow up to be. You can get them just as pumped with The Wonderful Things You Will Be. There are so many different children in the book, all ranging from bold and creative to brave and kind, that your child will love thinking about who they are going to be as they grow.
9. 'I Wish You More' by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Because day care is such a huge milestone, it can spark the conversation about growing up and what you want for your children. In I Wish You More, your children will get the chance to hear your wishes for them and the wishes they have for their self, like wishes for friendship, for learning, and for kindness.
10. 'If I Could Keep You Little' by Marianne Richmond
11. 'Only One You' by Linda Kranz
In the grand scheme of things, day care may not seem like a huge deal, but it totally is. It's a big step towards your child's independence and their taking in of the world. Remind them of how much they have to offer with Only One You. The book is a beautiful, simple reminder for children to go out and explore the world, but it also offers them comfort and guidance as they do so, just like you.