Preparing for the First Day of School
Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, preparing for the first day of school each year can be a tiresome routine. With six kids ranging in age from 16 months to 26 years old, I have experienced many first days of school. I’ve put together some tips to help ensure this school year begins smoothly and easily for everyone.
Rest Up: Hectic summer schedules often make the swift transition into the classroom difficult. Make sure you mark the first day of school on your calendar well in advance, and start balancing out a more “normal” schedule at least a week prior. The “normal” schedule I’m suggesting includes having a consistent bedtime and a morning wake-up routine that will get your children the rest they require and the consistency needed to transition smoothly come the first day of school.
Communicate: As many of you know, I’m a strong advocate of open communication. The first day of school can have a large impact on your child’s emotional state. They might have anxiety about navigating the hallways, making new friends or leaving you for the first time. Have open discussions with your child about the first day of school and what to expect. Go over their schedule together, and be sure to give them the opportunity to express their thoughts and concerns, too.
Encourage: As many of us do, your child might need a bit of extra encouragement on the first day of school. Get up with your child and have a healthy and hearty breakfast together before taking off for school. Put a note of encouragement in their lunchbox, backpack or binder to let them know you’re behind them 100%. If your child is attending school for the very first time let them take a photo or something special and comforting with them that they can hold onto when they’re feeling sad or scared or lonely. Whatever you do, make sure your child knows you’re a proud parent.
Be a Joiner: Sometimes, the best way to make friends is to be a joiner. We all know this is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sit down with your child ahead of time to decide what kinds of activities they’re interested in participating in for the year ahead. Be careful not to overwhelm your child with too many activities. Start by picking just one or two things, and go from there. Also try to find out if there are kids in your neighborhood who also attend the same school. Maybe you can carpool together or set-up a play date prior to school beginning – that way your child can have a friend before even entering the classroom.
The first day of school should be exciting and fun. When in doubt, simply be there for your child and encourage them to do their very best. You’ve got this!
Daddy Nickell, father of 6, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog.