Courtesy of Susan Gifford

17 Teachers Reveal What Parents Should Worry About On The First Day Of School

Ad failed to load

After 13 years as a student, and another 13 as a public school teacher, you'd think I'd be used to this whole "back to school" thing. Now that I'm a mom, though, the first day of school is a different ball of crayon wax. As a parent, you have to worry about everything from paperwork and lunches to bus runs and bullying. Thankfully, I have amazing resources at hand. I tapped the wisdom of my former colleagues and mentors to find out what parents should and shouldn't worry about on the first day of school.

I'm a preschool mom. My daughter started last year, but I wasn't allowed to enroll her until she was 18-months-old, so her first day was in November. My partner and I were able to ease her in to a classroom with well-established routines. Next week, she'll have her first official first day of school. She's lucky enough to have the same amazing teachers, but her beloved classmates (whose names she recites before bed) will have moved on to the next classroom. We're also increasing her time in school from two to three days a week. It's kind of a lot for an already anxious mama.

At times like these, we need to look to the experts: teachers. As a former teacher myself, I know that educators love children and know what they're doing. Sometimes I just need to be reminded, and maybe you do, too:

Ad failed to load



"Have your kid get a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast. Teachers will take care of the rest!

A quick goodbye is best for the little ones. I had a kindergarten student that would cry and cling to her parent every day at drop off (all year long). The parent never wanted to leave her upset and so it would drag out. But as soon as the parent left, she would join her friends talking and playing and was just fine.

Also, don't stress if your child is in a class with a kid they don't like, or has a teacher that you aren't sure their personalities will mesh well with. That is part of life. We can't pick our bosses and coworkers. It is good for them to learn to work with others (even those that are more difficult to work with).

Remember, this isn't our first rodeo! You may be nervous, but we know what we are doing."


"This makes me think of parents with children new to the school. I always assure them that we will look out for their child and make sure they are not alone at recess or lunch and that they will find a new friend quickly. I assure them that we do team-building activities the first few days to ensure that kids get to know each other and that no one feels alone. I promise them that I will take the very best care of their pride and joy!"



"Make sure your students know how they are getting home and get them into a routine of that travel right away, because especially for my littles, dismissal is usually crazy the first week of school. If they change every day, it's hard for me, the students, and the office to keep things straight."

Ad failed to load


"The teacher will welcome and care for every student. All students will get to know one another in fun and low pressure ways. All students will learn the rules and expectations of the class and school (they're not just expected to know them)."



"For kinders, if the child is crying hysterically, it is best to leave and not keep hanging around. As much as it is distressing to see your child in such a state, hanging out longer doesn't help. It will pass, and it's OK to leave. Feel free to call the teacher and check in to see how your little love bug is doing."


"Know that your child is loved as much as if they were the teacher's own child, and allow grace to all of us teachers who are not perfect (myself included)."

Ad failed to load



"Don't worry about your kiddos being away from their phone all day. Students went to school without cell phone access for a long, long time and they were just fine. In fact, messaging them every hour to see how their first class/day/week is going can actually make it harder for them to learn and get acclimated to their new setting. Asking your child to text you back during class could even cause unnecessary conflict with their teacher, and that's a rough way to start the new school year."


"The best way a worrying parent can calm down is to be prepared before they drop off their kid. They have to step back and trust their kid and their school. The time to worry is before the first day, and then go meet the teacher, walk the halls, etc., so the first day goes smoothly. If there is a big issue, call and make an appointment. Be a confident parent on the first day — don't let your kid think you're scared to drop them off at school."



"For middle school/junior high students: they won't get lost, shoved in a locker, or be given a swirly. New students to that level are in a group of kids who are all new to the school. Older kids will mostly ignore them, worrying more about their 'likes' and friends, rather than targeting younger kids. They won't get lost and will make new friends. They'll have a great day, even if they aren't willing to talk about it!"

Ad failed to load


"For young learners, make sure they are bathroom independent — dress them in 'easy to go' clothes. Until they can tie their shoes in a double knot, choose Velcro! (If I had a nickel for all the laces I have tied!). Make sure their backpack is big enough (Friday folders can seem as big as the child these days). Choose a transparent zipper pouch for notes to be easily seen. Pack their lunch for awhile. Going through the lunch line can be a long ordeal until they get the hang of it! If a child will be riding the bus, start them at the very beginning. It just makes it easier for communications that first week!"



"Know that you will be more uneasy than your child. If there are tears at the good-bye, your child's will be gone a lot faster than yours."


"In middle school, trusting your child to make good choices, in friends, in electives, and in lunch, goes a long way. (Seriously, don't walk them through the lunch line.) It's going to be hard to watch your baby fail, but it's better to allow them to fail in a safe space where grades don't hurt your GPA. Your reaction to their first F will dictate whether you ever see their work again.

Talking to the teacher can make all the difference. If you can, let the teacher be the mean and strict one; we only have your child for a year. Ultimately, teachers want your child to succeed as much as you do.

Also, they will find a place; it might take awhile but it will happen. Just because they want to try all the makeup, dye their hair all the colors, and wear all the odd clothes, doesn't mean they aren't going to turn into amazing adults. I always ended my 6th grade parent chat with, 'And remember, this too shall pass.'"

Ad failed to load



"Knowing bus runs can still be an issue for 7th graders, and they have a pretty small window to get from class to the bus at dismissal. Also, just because they're in junior high doesn't mean they don't need school supplies."


"For some families, the first day of school should allow them to know that their child is going to have a guaranteed meal. They will be warm and safe. They will be loved and respected. We care."



"Know that your child's classroom is a place where they will be safe and loved! Each day will be an adventure that they can look forward to!"

Ad failed to load


"Don't be surprised if your little one doesn't eat much lunch the first week. They will be too busy figuring things out and making friends! Also, send lunch containers they can open themselves. They will be tired the first few weeks until they adjust to a new routine!

As easy as it is for me to thinking of my teaching days, I'm having trouble with the fact that my own baby is going to school! But I know the school is wonderful, and I have no concerns once he gets there."



"My advice is actually before the first day of school. You know, don't you, that we are there weeks before school starts? Stop by and say hello. Write me a little note. Let me know something special about your child. If there is a concern, please don't make me figure it out on my own. There isn't much I haven't experienced, and I won't judge you or your child. I only want to make this the happiest, most productive year possible for you both.

Don't listen to the gossip of what other parents say about me. Remember that I am a professional, but I'm also a human being with feelings, a family, joys, and sorrows just like you. I'm on your side. Please be on mine and remember that I have to love, care for, and teach every child, often in vastly different, sometimes seemingly unequal ways. Together we can make it a great year for all of us."

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack