Two Weeks Before the First Day
- Help your child clean out closets, dresser drawers, desks, bookshelves, and organize their rooms. You will need to make room for backpacks, school supplies, books, school clothes and other necessities. It is helpful to have separate spaces for school clothes and play clothes, this will help children with getting dressed in the morning.
- Make a specific spot for children to store their backpack. Children can be forgetful and you will need to check the backpack for homework assignments, notes from school, permission slips, etc. After the child completes the homework assignment he or she should put it in the backpack right away so it is ready to return to school.
- Designate a spot in the kitchen for lunchboxes. Have them practice packing and unpacking their lunchbox and putting things in the sink after school. You will want to monitor the lunchbox to make sure your child is eating lunch. At our school we have the children bring home any uneaten food. Please clearly mark the lunch box, thermos, reusable containers and other items with a sharpie. Both tops and bottoms of reusable containers should be marked. It is an environmentally sound idea to use these types of containers instead of ziploc bags. Be sure to include a cloth placemat and napkin for your child. You will want a barrier betwee,n the lunch table and your child's food. Children often drop things on the table so it would be healthier if it fell on their placemat.
- Mark all removable clothing items (including shoes) with the child's name. This will be very helpful to the teacher and items are more likely to be returned to the proper owner if they are easily identifiable.
- Consider visiting the school, helping the child find his or her classroom, bathrooms, water fountains, where they will be dropped off and picked up, where the playground and the school office is located.
- Buy school supplies. Take your child with you so that they can make some choices. When you get home, unpack and store supplies in appropriate areas. Label with a sharpie any supplies they take to school unless the teacher says otherwise. Sometimes teachers ask students to bring in pencils and they become classroom supplies so they do not need to be labeled.
- Buy a new toothbrush while you are buying school supplies, it is a good time of year to start with "new" things.
- Place items that need to go to school in the backpack and set it aside so everything is ready to go.
- Practice packing lunches in the lunchbox with your child. What things can he or she do without your help. Have a "conference" with your child about foods you both agree are acceptable and healthy for lunch.
- Start the school bedtime routine. We all tend to get out of the routine over summertime. It is best to get back into the routine a week or so before the big day. Some children will not be able to sleep before the first day of school so if the bedtime routine is established parents and children have an easier time.
- If possible, take your child with you to meet the teacher. As a teacher I always want to meet the families in my class before school begins. It may ease your child's anxiety to stop in and say "hello".
- Be sure the school has all of your phone numbers and email addresses.
- Help your child pick out the "First Day" outfit, from underwear out. Set all the clothing aside so your child knows to get dressed in the am.
- Explain to your child the time schedule for school. What time you will drop them off, pick them up etc.
- Talk about the child's feelings, with younger children be sure to let them know that you have complete confidence in their abilities, that this is a great adventure, and that you will be looking forward to hearing all about it after school.
- Keep the routine low key, calm and happy.
- Drop your child off, give him or her a big hug and tell them you will see them at (whatever time school ends). Do not prolong the goodbye. Leave them in the care of the teacher even if your child is nervous, scared or tearful. The teacher will know how to deal with this.
- Go to work or go shopping, something to take your mind off leaving your child in someone else's care.
I wish you all a very successful school year!