The first day of school is always a little bit awkward, whether you're the one going to school or not. If you're the parent of a child who is starting their first day of school ever, you're probably somewhere in the "how is my baby already in school!?" phase. Or your child might be the one with a bad case of first-day-nerves. Whatever it may be, there are lots of little things to do to make the first day of school more bearable, ensuring you're both more at ease when the big day comes.
Although my children aren't old enough for school yet, the thought of sending them off on their own to learn is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Exciting in the sense of "what am I going to do with all this free time" and terrifying because they haven't technically been out of my sight long enough for them to sit through a finger painting lesson. On the other hand, I remember my own first day of school as a child, and the little things my mother did to make a new school and new friends something to look forward to, instead of something to dread.
You don't have to make it a huge production, in fact, it's probably best that you don't. But you can turn the first day of school into a day they'll always remember (in a good way), just by filling it with little things to make them smile. Chances are, it will ease your own nerves too.
1. Turn It Into A Celebration
Anything can be turned into a celebration, if you spin it right. If your child is nervous about a new year (or maybe starting school for the first time,) start off their morning with balloons and streamers, hyping up how great their first day will be.
2. Cook A Special Breakfast
Instead of a rushed breakfast of cereal and milk that's usually stereotypical of school mornings, take the time to make their favorite breakfast. Maybe even make it an extra-sweet breakfast (packed with necessary nutrients to give them energy throughout the day, of course).
3. Let Them Pick Out Their Own Outfit
As much as their sense of style may be "unconventional" in your eyes, giving your child the freedom to wear what they want, no matter their age, can make them even more excited about going to school. If they have uniforms or a dress code, giving them freedom with their hair 'do choices or accessories can help in the same way.
4. Plan Some "Me Time" For Yourself
If you're having a harder time than your child is, plan to keep busy while they're gone at school. Be it a relaxing manicure, conquering a project you've been putting off, or a date with your friends, taking your mind off of your empty house will help pass the time.
5. Pack A Surprise In Their Lunch
Pack their favorite snack or a sweet note telling them to have a great day for them to find when they open their lunch. It will remind them of you, and give them a little boost in the middle of the day.
6. Send Off Summer With A Bang
The day before school starts, have a little going away party for summer break, filled with fun talk about how great the new year is going to be, and of course, cake.
7. Make Them A "Homework Office"
Having a space all to yourself is liberating and exciting. Give your child a reason to look forward to their homework by creating their own little corner or room in the house for them to study, read, or work on assignments.
8. Encourage Them To Make A New Friend
One of the scariest parts of school, no matter what age you're at, is wondering if you'll be able to make new friends. Help your child along by encouraging them to make at least one new friend on the first day. Taking the initiative can build their confidence is amazing ways.
9. Tell Them What To Expect
Don't let your child go into a new year without preparing them first. Take a look at their class schedule together, talk about their new teacher, and explain all of the awesome parts of being in school.
10. Do Your Own Research
If you're uneasy about not having control over your child's schedule, speak with their teacher or look up information online. Chances are, schools are used to first-time parents being a little uneasy and will do what they can to make sure you feel informed and at ease.
11. Make After School Plans
Giving you both something to look forward to when the school day is over — be it a simple ice cream date or a dinner out — will give them a well-deserved reward for braving the waters of a new school year.