The first day of school is coming quickly for local students. In the hustle to acquire the required school supplies and gather a back to school wardrobe, many parents overlook preparing their children for that first day of school. Once the school supplies have been purchased, the class schedule secured and the bus route finalized, take a few moments to think about how your child will survive that first day of school.
- Be rested. Sleep is important to children and starting school with a full night’s rest under one’s belt is a great way to be prepared for that first day of school. Keep in mind that many children can experience a few jitters the night before school begins so be careful to avoid hyping the situation by blurting out such things as, “I can’t believe my baby is going to be in first grade tomorrow!!” repeatedly at the dinner table. Keep the mood mellow the night before school begins, getting children to bed early.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Serve a healthy breakfast consisting of food that will power kids’ minds until lunch. Some great options include oatmeal topped with a blueberry smiley face, whole wheat toast and peanut butter, or a yogurt parfait made up of yogurt, fruit and granola. Use a special plate or draw a silly picture on your child’s napkin to show them that the first day of school is going to be great.
- Enter the building knowing what to expect. If possible, take a “test run” of the school before the first day. Many schools offer “Meet the Teacher” nights a few days before the start of school. Take advantage of these events so children can become familiar with their new classroom, know what their teacher looks like and be able to find their desk on that first day.
- Have a friend in the classroom. Sometimes kids are lucky and a close friend happens to be in their same classroom. However, it is more likely that children will be placed in a class where a lot of the other students happen to be new faces. Find fellow neighbors or acquaintances whose children will be going to the same school (and perhaps in the same class) and arrange a play date with them before the start of school. Again, take advantage of “Meet the Teacher” night and introduce your child to other students in her classroom.
- Takee a few pictures of the day. Parents want to have a photograph of their smiling child on that first day of school to cherish through the years. Taking one or two pictures of one’s child standing by his desk is great (unless that child is a junior in high school). Refrain from attempting to create a documentary of your child’s first day of school complete with a play-by-play commentary of his trip to the classroom and an interview with the teacher.
- Pack a reminder from home. Tuck a special note or a family picture inside your child’s lunch box or backpack to let him know that his family is thinking of him. Although older kids might not be too keen on a smiley face note from Mom in their lunch bag for the whole cafeteria to see, they likely would appreciate a little note placed in their car or taped to the bathroom mirror.
- Celebrate. Once that first day of school has been tackled, take a few moments to celebrate the beginning of a new school year. Consider making a favorite meal for supper or heading out for ice cream after the dinner dishes have been cleared. Take time to acknowledge how hard your child will work at school in the upcoming months and celebrate how they survived that first day of school.