In just a few short days, our children’s alarm clocks will be ringing and hectic school schedules will become a part of our routine.
No matter what age your child is, the first day of school can cause anxiety for the entire family. Here are some things you can do to make the first day a bit less stressful for everyone.
1. Fill their backpacks ahead of time. While I didn’t always enjoy school, I did enjoy looking at my new school supplies. A few days before school starts, lay out your children’s supplies. Next, double check their supply lists to make sure you’ve bought everything they need and then start filling. This could be an enjoyable activity for all of you.
2. Lay out their clothes. I know this seems like a “no-brainer”, especially on the first day of school because they probably have new outfits to wear. The challenge is to keep this as part of your routine as the school year progresses and this begins to feel more cumbersome. If you have teenagers, good luck!
3. Pack their lunches the night before. My wife does a great job packing our lunches the night before. It saves everybody so much time in the morning. The only issue I have occasionally is when I get the text, “Dad, I forgot my lunch. Can you drop it off at school?” Ugh, luckily it doesn’t happen often.
4. Complete additional paperwork. While most of the paperwork should already be on file with the school, consider completing additional paperwork a few days prior or the night before. Returning additional paperwork on the first day of school can be beneficial to you because you can cross it off your “To-Do” list.
5. Designate a departure time. It’s inevitable that the morning routine won’t go as planned. Let your kids know the night before when you’ll be leaving. Don’t forget to build in a five to seven minute cushion to allow for extra traffic or the missing gym shoe.
6. Get a jump-start on course work. If you have a high school or college student, it may be a good idea to have them start doing some reading or other work a few nights before school starts. This can help eliminate some of the pressure that accompanies the first few days of school. My daughter in college has been working on course work for about a week.
7. Check out the bus stop. If your child is riding the bus for their first time, consider taking a walk or bike ride to your neighborhood bus stop. This will help familiarize your child with its location and surroundings.
8. Set several alarms. If your kids started going to bed at an earlier time a week or so prior to school, you’re probably a step ahead of the rest of us. If you have a teenager like me, that plan doesn’t work. Therefore, I’ll have her set her alarm so when my wife or I go into her room to wake her, she is already stimulated.
9. Set a reasonable bedtime. Excitement and a late night summer routine can make it difficult for your kids to go to bed the night before school starts. Consider compromising on the bedtime the first few nights until their bodies adjust to the school routine. Don’t forget that it’s important they get plenty of sleep. Depending on their age, they may need eight to thirteen hours of sleep per night.
I hope your child’s first day goes great!