The best advice comes from someone who has walked in your shoes before. Even as a “veteran” mom I love hearing how other parents do things and handle certain situations with their kids. Parent to Parent is where we ask other parents how they handle situation and share the answers with you. It takes a village, so leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments.
Tips for Starting School for the First time:
Big Kids, since parents don’t know anything – ha!! Ask older siblings, neighbors, family friends to have a “big-kid” share their experience of school, what it’s like to go there, and their favorite parts of the day (gym/recess, etc) so it seems fun and not scary! Make every effort to attend the meet the teacher events, and open houses so you can see / experience the school and teacher as much as possible before the first day. Encourage your children to ask questions, and if they’re not a talker, say that there is a “rule”, you have to ask your new teacher 3 questions when we go meet him/her, so let’s plan them out ahead of time together (also a great discussion starter and easy way to see what is making them the most anxious). ~Cheryl, 8th grader and 3rd grader
House of Prince: prepare your “just in case” resources. A trusted backup chauffeur. An extra house key hidden in a strategic location. A doctor at your beck and call? Don’t just communicate by email and permission slips. Even if you are a busy working parent, it is worth the time to go into your kids’ school early in the year to meet their teachers, put your face in front of the office staff, say hello to the principal, and get a feel for the vibe at school. ~Kim from House of Prince
Work on big changes BEFORE school starts: ditch naps, independent bathroom visits (make sure they’re comfortable in a public restroom!), limit snacks, enforce bedtimes, etc… The transitions that come with school are hard enough with those additional challenges. After starting kindergarten, we struggled with the short amount of time the kids had to eat their lunch. Between the limited time and distractions, she came home famished after only eating about half her lunch during the full school day (thankfully the teacher allowed the kids to snack on leftover lunches in the classroom). I’d suggest that to new kindergarten families they they have “lunch drills” at home. Prep lunch just like they will have at school–lunchbox at all. Make sure they can open all of the packages unassisted, eat quickly, and pack their boxes back up. ~Holly, 1st grader and pre-K
This is the tip I need. My only goal is to not cry (too much)! ~Tracy, pre-K (first time!)
Have a central location with a list of teacher names, numbers, school info, busing information- including times for bus stops. Alli, Kindergartener and pre-K
We use these free after school questions daily. It really helps provide us with more conversation than “How was school?” “Fine”. She loves to pick out 5 questions from the jar at dinner and tell us all about her day. ~Jessica 1st grader and pre-K
Have them tour their school and room. Have the girls meet their teachers as an ease In comfort. Talk to them about school and tell them how much their teachers are excited as well to get to know them. ~Stephanie, two in pre-K
Establish a uniform form day 1 in preschool to curb clothing fights. When my son started preschool the elementary school we were going to use required uniforms, a solid polo. We started it form day 1 of schooling and still 5 years later he knows that collared shirts are for school. For our girls we do “closet clothes” things that hang up, dresses and skirts, nicer shirts. Now that they are older the kids each have a “not for school drawer” for things that are printed or too short. Since we never remember to lay out clothes the night before having these “rules” set in place makes b=morning less stressful and with fewer arguments! ~Melissa, 5th grader, 3 rd grader and pre-K
What are your starting school tips?
Also check out Heather’s advice on preparing for the first day of kindergarten and beyond.