5 tips for the first day of school from a Chicago mom and former teacher

Last week on my Home Everyday blog, I talked about how this is the best/worst time of year. The beginning of the school year can be such an exciting time for kids and parents, but can also bring a bit of nervousness too.

As a former teacher and now parent, I try to keep in mind that the first week of school can be a hectic time for kids, parents and teachers alike. To make the transition into the new year smooth, here are my five tips to help calm those nerves on the first day of school for you and your child, and to help give your teacher some calm too. They may may seem like common sense, but during this time of year there is so much going on, so it is nice to have the reminder.

Pack it up: I don’t do this every night (because c’mon), but on nights before big days of school, or big homework assignments, etc. I make sure the backpack is packed before bed. That way, if we happen to oversleep (because c’mon) at least my kid is prepared for the day and he/she and his teacher have everything they need for the day. Before the first day of school, however, I also might put a note or sticker in their backpack just so they know we are thinking of them too.

Breakfast: Everyone should eat breakfast every day, but on the first day of school the little ones may have the jitters. Try and get up a little earlier than you normally would and offer a low sugar, high protein breakfast. The low sugar will help from adding to the jitters, and high protein will keep them fueled until lunch. Perhaps some yogurt, eggs or oatmeal with milk.

Positivity: The first day of school can be especially nerve wracking for kids who are going off for the first time. Parents can be a little nervous too, but remember to focus on the aspects of school that he/she may like best. Talk about his/her teacher with excitement and remind your little one you’ll see him/her at the end of the day. Also, parents, try to save your own tears of pride for when they are safely through the doors as to not upset your child.

Lunch: There are only so many lunch room helpers and with little ones they spend a lot of time opening milks. Also, the first few weeks of lunches are hard for little ones to maneuver the time/social element. To help your kid not come home with a full lunch box every day, try to pack a healthy lunch that your child can maneuver him/herself. Instead of packing an unpeeled orange, slice it into wedges and put it into a bag or container your child can handle on their own. If your child has trouble with individually wrapped snacks, open them and pour them into bags for the first few weeks of school. The kids and lunchroom helpers will thank you.

HUGS: For older kids, I know this becomes a point of contention, but the first week of school can be a lot of adjustment to new routines, schedules and people. Make sure to give your child lots of love, and give listening ears to hear about school and adjust to this time.

Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy, and productive school year!

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