Tips for Starting Preschool (Barnehage)

Now that August is soon upon us, many children are starting their first day in preschool (barnehage). Here are some tips to make the transition easier for you and your children:

  • Most preschools will send a welcome letter/information packet before the start of term. Be sure to read through it carefully and share the information with your child.
  • It might be helpful to bring your children to explore the preschool grounds a few times before the first day.
  • For toddlers/preschoolers, be sure to set aside at least 3 days of orientation. That means if your child is to start preschool on 15th August, you will need to set aside 16th and 17th August as well for orientation. Most preschools will have you be with your child for an hour or two on the first day, your child to be on his/her own for an hour or two on the second day and increasing periods of time subsequently. Depending on your child, this orientation period might take just a few days or a couple of weeks.
  • Expect tears/sadness/insecurities. Don’t be afraid to call/text the staff to ensure that your child is fine when you have left the premises.
  • Say ‘goodbye’ and don’t linger. Staff prefer ‘goodbyes’ to be short, sweet and firm. Sneaking out while your child is distracted is generally not recommended and might create further insecurity.
  • Ensure that your child/ren have sufficient clothing (innerwear and outerwear) and accessories suited for the current season. Leave the finest and most delicate clothing at home. Practicality is the key here.
  • Label all your children’s clothing, accessories and equipment (lunch boxes, water bottles, prams). It is extremely difficult for the staff to remember which clothes belong to which child.
  • Be sure to leave your (parents’) information with the preschool such that they can contact you if and when neccessary.
  • Bear in mind that your child might fall ill more frequently in the beginning – this is from exposure to more people and new viruses and bacteria.
  • Do read the monthly plan of the preschool such that your child is prepared for the day’s activities.
  • Depending on your preschool’s practice, you might need to pack food (matpakke) for your child. Be sure to pack sufficient food.
  • If you have any queries, do not be afraid to speak with the staff. Constructive criticism and compliments are always welcome.
  • Participate, if possible, in parent-teacher meetings (foreldresamtaler and foreldremøter), parents’ associations (FAU) and volunteer work (dugnad).
  • Last but not least, have respect for the staff, other children and parents.

General Items to have:

  • Diapers – most kindergartens expect parents to bring and maintain a stock of diapers for their child. This means your child will be able to use the exact type of diapers you would like him/her to use. This includes cloth diapers.
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Pacifier, lovey/stuffed toy – these are items which can comfort your child if your child uses these, especially during the orientation period.
  • Some kindergartens also encourage parents to bring pictures of the child’s family to decorate the walls/shelves with.
  • Naps
    • Pram/stroller – some kindergartens have mattresses for the children to nap indoors but most kindergartens have the children nap outdoors in their own strollers.
    • Sleeping bag/blanket

Clothing and accessory list for autumn/winter:

  • Woollen bodies/tops
  • Woollen socks/stockings
  • Woollen pants
  • Woollen jacket
  • Woollen one-piece suits
  • Wollen beanies (thin and thick/waterproof ones) and neck warmers
  • Wollen mittens/gloves with waterproof outer layer. Mittens are preferred for toddlers as they keep the warmth better and are easier to put on.
  • Fleece pants
  • Fleece jacket
  • Fleece one-piece suits
  • Waterproof jacket/suit
  • Winter jacket/suit
  • Rain suit – 2-piece suits are preferred as the bottoms are used more frequently than the jacket, especially on wet, warm and sunny days.
  • Rain boots
  • Winter shoes – should be waterproof and breathable.
  • Indoor shoes/slippers – should be skid-free
  • Backpack – for when the children are out on excursions
  • Waterproof mat to sit on when the children are out
  • Cold weather cream

For summer:

  • Sneakers and sandals
  • Short-sleeved tops
  • Shorts/bermudas/thinner pants
  • Swimwear – for water fun
  • Sunblock lotion
  • Sunhats
  • Thin, waterproof jacket
  • Rainwear and boots

Food and Drinks

  • Lunch box
  • Water bottle

Note that you may or may not need everything on the list – it is simply a guide. And you definitely do not need everything on the list for the first day of preschool. Items can be purchased as required.

Good luck to you and your child/ren!! Have a fantastic start to the preschool year!