The First Day Back To School

How to make the first day back to school go smoothly no matter what age the student.

The first of day school. Who can forget the jitters and butterflies that this event elicits. Preparing for the first day of school helps children feel comfortable and less nervous, although the initial excitement and worry is something that will never go away. There are a few things parents can do to make the first day extra special.

1. Talk to your child beforehand. Get a calendar and mark off the first day of school so it's a visible reminder. There will be no surprises the night before the big event. Chatting about their worries or what they are excited about gives children a chance to explore their feelings and gives parents a look into their children. Take their comments seriously because to them, they are serious.

2. Plan a trip up to school, especially if it's a new school or program your child will be attending. If you found out what is worrying your child, you can address this during the trip. Many junior high/middle school students worry about opening their locker and finding their classes. During the trip, have your child practice opening their locker and if possible, get their schedule and walk it with your child a couple of times until they feel confident. If your child is in elementary school, seeing their room and meeting their teacher will help set their minds at ease.

3. Involve them in buying school clothes and school supplies. Once they are bought, arrange a special place at home where their school supplies will go each and every day. It can be either in their room or in a spot such as the foyer or family room. Have your child help arrange this area with bins for their library books, pegs for their coats and backpack and a bulletin board to tack up important school notices or notes from the teacher.

4. Start going to bed early the last week of summer. It's hard to get back into the routine of school if you begin on the first day.

5. Have a back to school party. Some children like to have it the day before; others choose to have a bagel/poptart party that morning. Having a chance to celebrate going to school sends an important message to children.

6. Have lunches, clothes and supplies ready to go the first morning and every morning after that. Give your child an alarm clock so they can get up on their own. Set out breakfast food so your child can quickly grab a bite to eat on their own. Lunches can be packed the night before and in the refrigerator. The less you have to do in the morning, the smoother the first day will be.

7. Finally, take a picture. Every year, take a photo of your child in the same spot on the first day of school. Long after they graduate, they will enjoy looking at how much they grew from year to year.

Going back to school doesn't need to be stressful. With a little preparation, it will be an exciting day for students of all ages.

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