As summer comes to an end, most parents are preparing their children to return to school. However, the first day of school can be hectic and emotional for parents and children. Between shopping for school supplies and arranging to/from transportation, several things can be forgotten! The best way to help your child succeed on the first day of school is to follow the advice below (Chianis 2014).
- Start your school routine a week or two before the first day of school. Plan an earlier bedtime, healthy breakfast, and allow ample time to get ready for the daily activities. It’s also a good idea to run through scenarios with your child of what to expect in a classroom (e.g., raising your hand, taking turns, and talking about what to do if he/she gets hurt on the playground).
- Ensure your children focus on pedestrian safety. Children may walk, take the bus, carpool, or bike to school. Ensure your children know to look both ways before crossing the street or opening a car door. It’s also imperative that children walk on sidewalks and stay within crosswalks or bike lanes. If your child is walking or biking to school, travel her/his route a few times before the first day so she/he feels confident on her/his own.
- Reinforce home safety. If your child will be home alone before or after school, make sure he/she is responsible enough to keep doors and windows locked. Consider using smart home-security systems that allow you to check on your child while you’re away. Texting and FaceTime are great tools to ensure the safety of your loved ones.
- Ensure school administrators and teachers know about food allergies. If your child has a specific food allergy or has to take special medications, inform her/his school administrator or teacher immediately. Schools often have protocols to ensure special needs are met.
- Stay knowledgeable about the school’s emergency protocol. Whether it be a lockdown or an injury emergency, know who is on your child’s emergency contact list and update that information every school year.
We all want our children to succeed in school. Although nothing can completely take the first-day-of-school nerves away, we can certainly provide our children the tools to cope with them.