Walking, talking, potty training, developing their food palate…your kiddo has achieved some incredible milestones (and major kudos to you for supporting them every step of the way!). Regardless of whether your kiddos are entering preschool, kindergarten, or moving up a grade-the first day of school can carry a lot of big feelings with it. As parents, our top priority is to raise our kiddos to become kind, confident, and empathetic human beings who are excited to embrace any new opportunity. Naturally though, there are other feelings that accompany that excitement-for both kids and parents.
While there are some adorable photos taken by the front door, it’s ok for you (and your kid) to feel some anxiety and anticipation about the start of a new school year. There’s new classes, new friends, and teachers to meet…and a new “beginning” for your child means that you are embarking on a whole new chapter of parenting while simultaneously saying goodbye to the previous one. We know this can feel like a huge change-so we compiled a few helpful tips to hopefully make your little one’s first day go much smoother (for the both of you!).
Establish a Routine
Let’s start with the easiest tip: identify and work on establishing a routine based on your little one’s soon-to-be new schedule. Establishing a consistent routine will help mitigate a lot of the potential stress that can come with getting your child ready for school when the new year starts (trust us on this one!). Having a consistent schedule will help your child feel secure about navigating this new change while helping you feel more grounded in preparation for the first day. The good news here is that you can start by making small adjustments to your child’s current routine:
- Gradually adjust your child’s sleeping and waking schedule in 15 to 30 minute increments so that it can align with their school routine. You can also try to implement a routine as they approach their bedtime to ensure that your kids get all the sleep they need.
- Create and start sticking to a schedule for meals, chores, playtime, and “homework” so that you and your family can adjust in harmonious fashion. Not only will everyone be on the same page about what happens and when it does, it also helps you stay on top of parental duties such as meal planning and grocery shopping (especially when you have to factor in school pickups!).
Visit the School Together
A great way to help you and your child feel more at ease about the new school year is to visit the school together! Familiarize yourselves with the environment as well as where their classes and administrative offices are by taking a tour or attention orientation sessions offered by the school. Knowing where to go is a fantastic way for both you and your child to feel more at ease and excited about what the school year has to offer. Explore the classrooms, playground, and take time to meet some of the teachers and other parents to foster a support network.
Pack a Fun & Healthy Lunch
GoBe Kids is all about delicious eats and there’s no better way than to get creative with your child's lunchbox! Make sure your kiddo has ready access to a fun and healthy lunch as well as snacks (and water!) throughout the day to fuel their learning minds. Aim for colorful and nutritious meals that will help keep their energy levels up throughout the day. If you want to make sure that your child has everything they need in one spot, look into bento-style lunch boxes (like our GoBe Lunchbox) that will keep your kids lunch and snacks fresh (and mess free!) all day long.
Misplacing an item or forgetting where you placed something happens to the best of us-and neither kids or adults are immune from it. Avoid the hassle (and any resulting stress or anxiety) of lost items by taking a few moments to label your kid’s school belongings. Invest in personalized, waterproof labels (like these!) that can easily be attached to backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, and even clothing. Doing so will help make sure that your kid’s items will always find a way back home (Pro Tip: It also helps you stay organized if you have multiple kids in your family!).
We mentioned earlier that starting school can come with a mixed bag of emotions for both you and your kiddo (and that is completely ok!). In the weeks or days leading up to the first day, encourage open communication with your little one so that you both can connect on this new chapter. Validate their excitement, calm their fears, and let them know it's normal to have a few jitters (we’ve all experienced those first day of school nerves). Feel free to share stories about your own school days to build a sense of camaraderie. A little extra love and reassurance can go a long way in also easing any separation anxiety (for the both of you!).
A New Look
There’s some truth behind the statement that “if you look good, you feel good”. If your kiddo is feeling nervous about their first day, take them on a shopping date and let them pick out a new outfit or even a new backpack (like this adorable strawberry one!) to carry. Not only will they feel confident in their new style but allowing them to actively pick the things they like will only add to the excitement surrounding the day (while minimizing any nervousness).
While there are a ton of great deals and back-to-school savings leading up to your kiddo’s first day, another great opportunity to score some school essentials is through local Buy-Nothing groups on social media and swap parties in your community (you can also organize one with friends or neighbors!). Back-to-school shopping lists can feel overwhelming-especially the costs that come with it-but rest assured, there are a plethora of low cost (or even free!) ways to get your kids the gear they need to kick off the school year.
Last but not least, remember that you’re about to witness one of the most remarkable milestones in your child's life-their first day of school. Embrace this new chapter with enthusiasm, love, and lots of encouragement (and don’t forget to give yourself extra grace too). You are your child’s biggest cheerleader, and with the right preparation and support, your child will continue to flourish and thrive in their new environment. You got this!