Parent’s Guide to First Day of a New School

I posted last time that our youngest will be attending a new school in a few days.  I shared some ideas about how we have prepared her for her new school.  Now what about that first day? How can we, the parents, make the start as smooth as possible for our child(ren)?  Below are 5 ideas that I think will help you (and me, too!).

1. Talk to your child(ren) about the first day.  Does your child want to be taken to the classroom or just to the front door?  A younger child will probably want to be taken to the classroom. An older child may prefer you be out of sight that first day and most likely everyday! Talk to your child and make a plan, but be prepared for a quick change of mind that morning. First day fears could take over.
2. Do a practice run. One weekday before school starts you should calculate how much time it takes to get to school in the morning. Leave your home about the time you think you will be leaving to see how long it actually takes. This way you don’t run the risk of arriving late on the first day because you did not consider morning traffic.
3. Plan to celebrate.Kids love to celebrate, so why not celebrate the first day at the new school? It may help your child(ren)  knowing that later on they will get a special treat. It could be dinner that evening at their favorite restaurant or a trip to the ice-cream store right after school.  If it’s not possible to celebrate that first night, plan something for the weekend. If your family is really into celebrating, do both. =)

4. Prepare a little surprise for lunch or snack.  Write a note on a post-it simply saying, “We love you!” or “Hope you are having a great day!”  You could also wrap their favorite snack up like a present.  Here’s what Jamie Oliver (!) suggests: carve a message into the banana peel. The words become darker with time.  Anything to bring a little smile to their face!

5. Don’t stay too long. What I mean by this is, don’t stay in or near the classroom very long. I know some kids will cry and cling, but the best thing is for the parent to kiss the child, tell them they love him/her and will be back after school, and then walk out.  Leave. Don’t stand in the hallway or anywhere your child can see you. This will only upset your child more. Usually, after about 15 minutes or so, they will become engaged in an activity and the tears will stop. If you are worried, you can always go to a nearby coffee shop with some friends.  The school has your phone number, so if there is a real problem they will call you.

Okay, your turn. Do you have any other ideas? I’d love to read them. Please share in the comments below.

*photo by flickr