Back-to-school advertisements are everywhere, which can mean only one thing. Well, a couple of things: summer is ending and you have to start preparing your kid for school. This can be even more daunting if your child is just starting their education journey and you have no prior experience, other than your own. If that's the case, then you're likely scouring the internet to learn how to prepare your kid for their first day of school.
It's easy to rely on tips from parents who've been there, barely survived that. But in order to find out how to get your child ready for this important milestone, Romper spoke with the people who would know best: the teachers.
Although some of their advice like, "buy school supplies" or "stay positive" may seem obvious, there is actually a bigger reason why teachers pass on these words of wisdom. Additionally, there are a lot of tips only a teacher has the insight to share with you, and many of them are things I never considered when thinking about taking my kid to school.
So if you're gearing up for your child's first day ever, even if it's not your first child to go to school, you'll want to check out the best ways to be prepared, according to teachers.
1. Go To Open House
Among all of the teachers Romper spoke with, almost every single one urged parents to go to open house. Seventh grade teacher Logan Stapp Schamerloh says it's so important because it "makes the first day less overwhelming for the students." Additionally, it helps them get used to the new environment and meet other kids and teachers. It's also extremely helpful for parents to prepare themselves, meet the teachers, and get questions answered.
2. Bring School Supplies To Open House
In an interview with Romper, Pre-K teacher Wendy Boling says it's also a good idea to bring school supplies with you to open house, because it'll be one less thing to take care of the first day of school. As teachers are showing kids where their things will go and where they'll sit, parents can help kids put supplies in the right spot ahead of time.
3. Avoid Lingering If Your Child Cries
If your child cries during drop-off, it's important that you get out fast. "The sooner you leave, the sooner they stop crying," second grade Teacher Tiffany Wilson tells Romper. You may feel obligated to stick around, but that actually tends to prolong the situation and prevent teachers from stepping in to defuse.
4. Discuss Lunchtime Beforehand
Wilson also says that with the new routine, it's smart to make sure your child is clear on what they're having for lunch. Lunchtime is often a confusing period at the start of a new year, for both teachers and kids. Make sure your child knows what food is for lunch, what is for snack, and what they can't eat, if they have allergies.
5. Don't Skip The First Morning Bus Ride
In an interview with Romper, middle school teacher Erlene Tweet says that if your kid is riding the bus during the year, they need to do so from day one. Riding the bus to school the first day helps familiarize them for their after school trip home. Plus, it makes for cute pictures.
6. Stay Positive When Referring To School
In an interview with Parenting From The Heart, Professor Sheila Pace said it's vital to have positive communication about school with your kids. As a parent, you may want to problem-solve or sympathize with your child if they're not looking forward to school, but it's important not to add fuel to the fire. Get your child excited by having conversations and playtime based around topics your kids will focus on in their class.
7. Share Learning Needs Or Health Concerns
Pace also said it's important to be open with the school about any struggles your child may have. If there's a learning concern or health issue, make it a priority to speak with your child's teacher and principal before school starts so they can provide the right support.
8. Start A Morning Routine Before The First Day
On top of all the changes that come with starting school, you have to deal with a different morning routine. Fourth grade teacher Bryanna Norman tells Romper that it's beneficial to start your new routine prior to the first day of school so you don't have to endure any tears on day one.
9. Send Kids With A Photo, Not Comfort Toys Or Blankets
Although a lot of parents may want to send kids to school with their favorite stuffed animal or blanket, that actually tends to cause more problems. Early Childhood Special Education Teacher Katie Franiuk says you should swap the top for a family photo that they can easily view when they are feeling nervous.
10. Make Extra Effort To Be Early For Pick Up
Franiuk says it can be scar for kids to wait for their parent to arrive. Especially on the very first day of such a big change, not seeing mom or dad as school comes to an end can be overwhelming. Although it's inevitable the day will come when you're late, avoid it on the first day.
11. Go Over The Basics
Pace also told Parenting From The Heart that you should instill a sense of identity in your child before their first day. This means going over their full name, their parents' names, and go over some of the questions that may come up when interacting with new kids and teachers.
12. Plan A Visit To The School Playground
For a light-hearted and fun way to prepare your kids for their new environment, Wilson suggests visiting the school's playground one day during the summer. Much like attending open house or other school events before the first day, this is another, more personal way to help your kids get comfortable and create positive memories in the process.
13. Grab A School Supplies List Online
In an interview with Romper, sixth grade teacher Taylor O'Keefe says getting school supplies beforehand makes the learning experience much smoother for everyone. Not to mention when kids don't have all of their supplies, teachers are often the ones paying for the missing items or having to take time out of class to, for example, send kids to the bathroom for a tissue. Checkin with your school beforehand, or utilize Target's School List Assist to see what your child needs.