In just a few short days, our children’s alarm clocks will be ringing and hectic school schedules will become a part of our routine.
No matter your child’s age, the first day of school can cause anxiety for the entire family. Here are some things you can do to make the first day less stressful for everyone.
1. Fill their backpacks ahead of time. While I didn’t always enjoy school, I did enjoy looking at my new school supplies. A few days before school starts, lay out your children’s supplies. Next, double check their supply lists to ensure you’ve bought everything they need, and then start filling them. This could be an enjoyable activity for all of you.
2. Lay out their clothes. I know this seems like a “no-brainer,” especially on the first day of school because they probably have new outfits to wear. The challenge is to keep this as part of your routine as the school year progresses, and this begins to feel more cumbersome. If you have teenagers, good luck!
3. Pack their lunches the night before. This saves everybody so much time in the morning.
4. Complete additional paperwork. While most of the paperwork should already be on file with the school, consider completing additional paperwork a few days prior or the night before. Returning additional paperwork on the first day of school can benefit you because you can cross it off your “To-Do” list.
5. Designate a departure time. Inevitably, the morning routine won’t go as planned. Let your kids know the night before when you’ll be leaving. Don’t forget to build a five- to seven-minute cushion for extra traffic or the missing gym shoe.
6. Get a jump-start on coursework. If you have a high school or college student, it may be a good idea to have them start doing some reading or other work a few nights before school starts. This can help eliminate some of the pressure that accompanies the first few days of school.
7. Check out the bus stop. If your child is riding the bus for the first time, consider taking a walk or bike ride to your neighborhood bus stop. This will help familiarize your child with its location and surroundings.
8. Set several alarms. If your kids started going to bed earlier a week or so before school, you’re probably a step ahead of the rest of us. If you have a teenager, that plan doesn’t work. Therefore, make sure they set an alarm so that when you go into their room, they’re already stimulated.
9. Set a reasonable bedtime. Excitement and a late night summer routine can make it difficult for your kids to go to bed the night before school starts. Consider compromising on the bedtime the first few nights until their bodies adjust to the school routine. Don’t forget that it’s important they get plenty of sleep. Depending on their age, they may need eight to thirteen hours of sleep per night.