First Day of School Survival Guide

After a long lazy summer of staying up later and sleeping in longer-it will soon be time to return to the routine of going back to school.

The first day of school makes most children feel a variety of different emotions. They are excited to see their friends, nervous about how the day is going to go, worried about new teachers and school work. You, as their parent, can help make the transition back to school an easier one

Getting Ready for the First Day of School

  • Reset your child's body clock: About a week or so before school will be starting, you should be adjusting your child’s schedule so that they go to bed at the time they will need to during the school year and waking up when they will need to for school. This will help reset their body’s clock.
  • Mark your child's school supplies with his/her name: Help your child mark their name on all their supplies. To make it easier on them, do not load their book bag with all their supplies for the first day.
  • Get his book bag ready: Inside their book bag, along with their name, you should mark the bag with your home, work and/or cell phone number. If they will be riding the bus, write the bus number on an easy to find area on their bag. Show this information to your child so they know if they ever forget it, it is available.
  • Take a tour of the school: Another way to help alleviate some of your child’s concerns is to do a tour of the school a few days before class starts. This is especially important if your child has transferred schools or is graduating to a new grade. (i.e. Junior High/High School) Walk around and see where all the different rooms are. If your child will be riding the bus, look to see where they will be picked up and dropped off at the school.
  • Show him how to use a combination lock: If your child will have a locker this year, a great way to prepare them is to buy a combination lock and instruct them how to use one.

The First Day of School Survival Tips

  • The night before their first day, have everything ready for in the morning. Have a bath or shower before bed. Lay out the outfit they will be wearing along with shoes, socks and underwear. Pack the next day’s lunch. Write a short note and place it inside their lunch. You can say anything you wish. Some examples could be: “Hope you’re having a wonderful first day of School,” “Thinking of you on your big day!”
  • The morning of the big day, get up a little bit early yourself. Begin waking your child up so that they have plenty of time to get ready, eat breakfast and prepare for the day without feeling rushed.
  • If your child will be riding the bus, have them out at their stop at least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled pick up time. Pick up times are just estimates-it may take your child’s driver less time than estimated to do their route.
  • To make your child’s first day of school more memorable, do something simple and special for them. This could mean cooking their favorite food for dinner,(regardless of what it is) stopping at the store and picking up something inexpensive or even celebrating the occasion by going out to eat or getting ice cream.
  • When your child comes home, chances are, they are going to be bringing oodles and oodles of paperwork with them for you to fill out. Try to complete them as soon as possible as many of them will be health and emergency information forms. Be sure to inform the person you are going to put down as an emergency contact.
  • Set up our expectations right away in regards to study time and homework. Stick to these expectations.
  • If our child will require help with their homework, set aside time just for them so that it can be accomplished. Children tend to do better when they start working on their homework right when they get home instead of putting it off for a later time.
  • Continue to stay in the same routine every night as you did the first day, bathe at night, lay out wardrobe and wake up at a time so that breakfast and everything else can be accomplished without feeling rushed.

© Rebecca Pillar 2008

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