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  • Carrie Hoshaw

5 Steps to a Great First Day of School

The first day of school is quickly approaching. It's time for your child to begin their educational journey. How can you make their first day a great one?

1. Prepare your child:

Talk to your child about school leading up to their first day. Let them help with the purchase of their school clothing, lunch box and lunch foods. The more involved in the process they are, the more relaxed they will feel.

You will build confidence in your child by encouraging them to practice using their lunch box, going to the restroom on their own, using their water bottle, getting dressed or washing their hands. This will help ease some of the stress or fears of starting school.

2. Visit the school before the first day:

You are welcome to bring your student into the school to meet the teachers, find their cubby, tour the classroom and meet some of their new friends. Students are always excited about new friends to play with. The children will be happy to introduce themselves to your child and show them around. Just give the school a call, so the teachers can make preparations for your visit.

3. Provide a sense of order:

If you don't already have a scheduled bedtime or it has relaxed over the summer, start a bedtime schedule one week in advance of school. As an adult, we know how cranky we get when we are tired and children are just the same.

Talk to your child about what days of the week they will be attending school and what activities they can expect on these specific days. Be sure to tell them what time they will be getting to school, who will be picking them up and what time they will be picked up.

4. Get your child settled in:

As you walk in the door of the school a teacher will greet you.Then, she will show you how to sign in, where your child's cubby is located, whereto find the bathrooms, how to wash their hands and tell you some other important information for your first day.

Point out to your child some of the things they liked from their tour of the school. Say things like, "Hey, there are those puzzles you liked the last time we were here. Remember how you put the puzzle together? Maybe you could do that again."

Try introducing your child to some other children in the room, so they get to know some names and faces. Walk up to another child and say, "Hi, this is Isabelle. What's your name?"

5. Leaving is the hardest part:

How you leave your child is extremely important. Don't worry if your child starts to cry, this is normal. The teachers are experts in this area. Team up with the teacher at this time to make the process easier. The best thing the parent can do is to keep a positive attitude. Give them a hug and a kiss, tell them how much you love them, then say your good-byes. You can wave good-bye from a window at the school, blow some kisses, give a sign language "I love you" or some other fun hand signal. The teacher will be sure to offer support for your child.

Do not express feelings of guilt or anxiety about leaving them. You have chosen a great school for your child. They are going to learn amazing things, make friends, have fun and learn to be independent. The teachers nurture every child as if they were their own. If your child senses any anxiety, they will copy your emotion. So, try to leave feeling proud of your child's new milestone and happy for all the exciting things they will be doing in the coming years.

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