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Yesterday Heather gave us some great advice on easing the kindergarten transition for parents and kids, today she’s sharing some tips to make the first day special whether it’s the very first day of kindergarten or the first of many for older kids.
Making the First Day of School Special
How can I help my child have a good experience on the first day?
The first day may be touch and go for some kids. Nerves, excitement, and apprehension may make for a tricky morning. Try some of these strategies to help get the morning off to a good start:
Remember in school when you used to have to take all those standardized tests, and you were always warned to “Eat a good breakfast?” Well, that doesn’t just stand for test days. Breakfast is an important part of making sure your child does well in school and has enough energy to get through the day. Starting the first day off with a special breakfast will make your child feel special and give you some time to sit and enjoy some time with them before starting the big day. Need some quick breakfast ideas?
- Being prepared
Don’t wait until the morning to pick out an outfit, go over morning expectations, or try new backpack/gym shoes. Taking care of these tasks the night before can eliminate any meltdowns or disagreements the morning of. Make sure all supplies are purchased, packed up, and ready to deliver to school, so your child does not get nervous about not having everything they need. (some schools have a supply drop-off the day before the first day of school, so be sure to check with your school for this option as well!)
- A Picture
Capture the first day of school in a picture. There are so many creative ways to take your child’s photo. Ideally, try to pick a good spot that you can use every year so you can see how much your child grows from year to year. Not only does this give you something to look back on, but it shows your child that this is a very special day.
- Go over transportation expectations.
Make sure it is not a surprise how your child is getting to school. If the child is taking the bus for the very first time, it will help to show them ahead of time where they will be catching the bus. Also, assuring them that you will be waiting with them until the bus picks up and will pick them up after the bus driver drops them off will help with any anxiety. Our friends at CSRA Kids have some great bus riding tips.
If you are driving or walking them to school, make sure you take a practice run ahead of time and make sure you know any drop-off regulations the school may have. Some schools have certain times you can begin dropping off and designated areas where drop off is allowed. Make sure you have that figured out before the morning of.
Missing them during the day? Try this to give you (and them!) some comfort:
- Note in the lunchbox
Place an easy to read note in their lunchbox for the first day. Something simple like, “I love you! Love, Mom and Dad” will be easy enough for them to recognize. If you don’t think your child will recognize the words, you can draw them a picture to express your sentiment.
- Pack a special lunch
Make sure you don’t put anything too difficult to open or prepare in your child’s lunch, especially on the first day. Make sure you pack some of their favorites to make them feel right at home.
Want to give them a great welcome home?
- Snack (Cookies and Milk?)
This one is a given! This is the timeless way to say, “welcome home from school.”
- Talk about the school day together.
Make sure you do this when they are ready. Give them a snack, let them rest of play for a while, and then try to tackle this. It is hard to wait to hear about their day, but you may get the opposite response you are looking for if you try too early. They are overwhelmed after their first day. Let them have some downtime before they have to relay things to you.
- A family dinner
When the whole family has arrived home, make a special first day of school celebratory dinner. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a few ingredients are necessary: the whole family, a table and chairs, some food, and great conversation.
Do you have any special first day of school traditions?
By: Heather Williams
Heather is a busy mom of three who loves exploring Lake County with her kids. When she, her husband, and kids are not embarking on new adventures, you will most likely find her cooking and posting some great family-friendly recipes at Girl and Her Kitchen.
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