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  • Writer's pictureLatoya Smith

Best First Day of School: How to Make Your Kid's Start of the School Year Special

There’s something fascinating about the first day of school. I think all parents feel that tug-of-war between excitement and bittersweet joy. It’s as if life just handed you a red card that says “Growing so fast, aren't they?”

While us parents deal with all these conflicting emotions, our kids are also faced with emotions like worry and uncertainty.

Everything will be new to them, so we’d pretty much expect that they’d be looking to us for help and support.

As much as we want to cover everything, there are things that only our kids can do. However, there are some things we can do to help our kids be ready for the amazing year ahead.

Have the First Day of School Conversation

When we were preparing Sheldon for kindergarten, we made sure that we had the kindergarten talk a school year before he officially started.

We went through the expectations, the things he’d learn at school, and the adjustments that he needs to make.

Starting kindergarten is a pretty big milestone for our kids, helping them become emotionally and mentally prepared for their new school adventures can ease their jitters.

Help Them Become Familiar with Your Contact Number

We’re sending them out to the real world – safety issues will be everywhere.

One of the first things we taught Sheldon was memorizing our phone numbers. It took a while before he completely mastered our digits but it was worth it.

When he walked inside the corridors of his new school, I was able to pacify my anxious thoughts because I knew he would be able to contact us whatever happens.

If your child isn’t ready to string numbers yet, you can slip on a calling card to his ID, or books.

Together with Your Child, Get Familiar with the School, Teachers, and Staff

I call this “navigating the unknown together.”

If your chosen school allows it, drop by to check out the place and meet teachers and staff.

Attending a school orientation for parents offers a great opportunity to interact with teachers and to get your child to be comfortable with the new people at school.

Giving your child a feel of his new school will significantly lessen the anxiety for the big day.

Download the App that Teachers Use to Communicate and Keep Track On Your Child’s Progress

I’m a big believer of working with the teachers when it comes to my kids and their education. I know I can support the teacher more when I’m in the loop on what’s happening with Sheldon at school. Before the school year started, I made sure to ask which app they will be using for communication.

Prepare Your Child to Ride the Bus

Boarding the bus is like an initiation to real life – so it’s naturally scary for kids.

Sheldon was hesitant, too. Trial runs with their school bus eased his worry. If a trial run for your local school bus is available, I say hop on the opportunity. These test runs are a great way to alleviate bus-related concerns, and they provide you a way to explain bus safety and etiquette.

Apart from getting a feel of what school bus services feel like, I also decided to coordinate with the bus driver so I can ask him about how Sheldon is with the other kids.

Bond Over Homework

I want Sheldon to be resourceful, but I also want him to know that Mom’s going to assist him when necessary.

I have read research on how learning increases when one feels safe. Allen and I always make sure we are our kids’ safe space. We teach them intuitively! We enjoy those little moments when Sheldon would look at us with big, awed eyes – he knows mom and dad will always be there to guide him with homework.

Be Intentional with Questions

There’s a tip I have learned on human communication.

Instead of asking Yes and No questions, we should start asking our children questions that will encourage them to articulate their feelings.

Now that Sheldon is in kindergarten, I am sure he will never run out of stories about his day.

Relax and Let Go

You’ve prepared your child to the best of your ability. It will be hard, but let go and trust the process until the process gives you a reason not to.

Believe me, Sheldon's first day on the bus was very emotional and I couldn’t stop crying.

Your child is going to discover the real world, and it’s tough!

Kids will make mistakes, but that doesn’t always mean you’re not trying your best as their parent.

Do all you can so the moment your child enters the school hallways, you can tap yourself on the back and say “We did it. My child can do it.”

Trust the process, and most importantly, trust yourself.

Sheldon looks forward to kindergarten everyday. When I followed the tips I listed here, my little boy learned how to become more independent – he now rides the bus with issues! I’m totally following these tips for Avery, Harper and Ashton.

How about you? What first-day-of-school tradition have you tried?

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