Starting Preschool / Back to School Children's Books (and some books on separation anxiety)

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My son started day care at 13 months.  The entire first week went surprisingly well.  He leapt out of my arms at drop off to play with his new friends.  Starting in week two he cried hysterically and desperately each morning.  He loved school, but the morning separations were hard on all of us.  I polled my friends and mom goups and got a bunch of book suggestions to help with starting school and easing separation anxiety.  I've come across some more good ones since and added them to my list.

The problem that I faced is that a lot of the recommendations weren't appropriate for my son's age.  So I've done the legwork and created this list for you, which is organized by age.  

In case you are concerned, at 20 months my son generally runs to play with his friends and barely says goodbye.  When he sees me at pickup, sometimes he goes to hug his teachers goodbye before running to me.  Overall, I think he has adjusted well.  So, maybe the books work!

Also, you may be interested in my hack for a fail-safe first day of school photo.

Bye Bye Time

  • Age Range: 1-3 years
  • This one works for a daycare or other child care setting.
Bye-Bye Time (Toddler Tools)
By Elizabeth Verdick

Maisy Goes to Preschool

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten

Bear's School Day

  • Age Range: 2 - 4 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up

Llama Llama Misses Mama

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten

 

Llama Llama Misses Mama
By Anna Dewdney

While I like other books in the series and this particular book is popular, I don't recommend it as it is very negative and includes the word "hate."

The Night Before Preschool

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten

 

Daniel Goes to School

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 7

 

The Berenstain Bears Go To School

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2

The Kissing Hand

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
The Kissing Hand
By Audrey Penn

Curious George's First Day of School

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3

I Love You All Day Long

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
I Love You All Day Long
By Francesca Rusackas

The Invisible String

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3

 

The Invisible String
By Patrice Karst
Great list of children's books to ease separation anxiety and prepare for back to school / starting school (daycare, preschool, pre-k, nursery, kindergarten, first grade)