Well, it happened. My baby boy started his first day of 2nd grade today!
We had company up until yesterday so I wasn’t sure how smoothly today was going to be. Luckily, both kids bounced out of bed, got ready and we had plenty of time for a nice, amble walk to school together. Comes to show you, preparation is key!
I just love the first day of school. It can be a little bittersweet because it means our extra time together is coming to an end. However, it also means we get a fresh new start which is a refreshing feeling.
I feel like Hawaii starts school so early. But, with school starting for everyone over the next few weeks, I wanted to share with you what we do to prepare for school in hopes it might help you with the school transition as well!
Here are 5 Tips For the First Day of School
1. Be Prepared
There is nothing worse than feeling like you aren’t ready for something. We start preparing for school about a month before school starts. We have the dreaded school supply list and we venture out determined to find everything all in one shot. He loves to cross off each item as we find them. I let the kids pick out their own backpack, lunchbox and the colors of their folders, binders etc. I feel it helps them get excited for the big day.
We also buy their uniforms ahead of time (if we need new ones). Having everything we need ahead of time prevents that unnecessary last minute stress.
2. Meet and Greet
Luckily, our schools have a meet and greet a few days before the first day of school. This is a great opportunity for us to find the classroom, drop off school supplies and meet the teachers. I always walk around the classroom with my son and together, we read all of the names of the kids in his class. We point out the names that we recognize which helps remind him that he won’t be alone on that first day. Being a military family, many of our friends come and go each school year. This summer, my sons best friend PCS’d (moved) to Japan with the Navy. Because of this, finding a few familiar names in his class was especially important this year.
This is also a great opportunity for ME to get to know the teacher. I like to be pretty involved in the classroom. My son has said in the past that he likes it when I’m “friends” with his teachers. Taking a little time to talk to the teacher about the needs of the classroom and how I can support them is something I like to do during the meet and greet.
3. Create a Routine
Kids thrive on routines. Creating a routine makes life so much easier for the kids as well as the parents. About a week before school starts, we like to establish a routine for the new school year. I used to work for a Child Development Center when my oldest was first born. This experience taught me how kids are capable of much more than we think they are. I remember being shocked at seeing 2 year olds pouring their own milk. They seemed so little and yet, they were doing a great job! I always try to keep this image in mind when I’m determining what my kids should be expected to do. It pushes me to push them to try new things.
This school year, my 7-year-old is going to wake up with his own alarm clock. He started doing this towards the end of the last school year. I’m hoping to be more consistent with it this year.
After seeing my 4-year-old pack for herself for our vacation, I decided she was ready to start laying her own school clothes out the night before school. This will be her new task. The trick to this, is having clothes that all match and can interchange with each other to make outfits.
By giving them these tasks, it provides them with the opportunity to gain confidence in themselves as well as teaches them responsibility. I talk more about this in my post: Raising Steak Cutters
Here is what our routine looks like:
The night before, my son or I (usually we do it together) pack his lunchbox and fill up his water bottle before we get ready for bed. We lay out our clothes for the next day and make sure all homework is finished and any parent forms are signed and put in his backpack.
Each morning, my kids have to get dressed, make their beds and brush their teeth before they come downstairs for breakfast. I have several breakfast options which they typically get ready themselves: cereal, breakfast corn dogs, bagels, yogurt/granola, french toast sticks etc. After they eat, we do a family devotional while I fix my daughter’s hair. Then, we are headed out the door for school.
By having a set routine, they know what is expected of them and it makes the mornings run much smoother!
4. Make it Special
On the first day of school, we like to start it off right by eating a special breakfast together. This year, it was Dunkin Donuts (which just opened on the island about a week ago). We take pictures with their backpacks and I make a point of making it an exciting morning.
During the school year, we drive to school and I drop my son off in the student drop off area. However, on the first day of school (and a few times throughout the school year), we walk to school and I drop him off at his classroom. We enjoy doing this and it gives me the opportunity to make sure he is comfortable in the new classroom. I make a point of saying “hi” to the students in his class and I wish them all a good first day. I think this helps my son feel more confident going forward with the day. We say our “see you laters” and off I go…leaving my baby at school (fighting back the tears each year) but yet so proud!
We have a fun tradition where we go out for a treat (usually he picks ice-cream) when I pick him up on the first day of school. I feel it gives us the chance to talk about his first day and he can plan on having my undivided attention while he shares with me what he liked and didn’t like about the day. I like this because it keeps the communication open between us. If there is something that he is worried about, this allows us to talk about it together until he feels better about it. By starting the year off with this open communication it sets us up for a thriving school year which is so important to me.
I feel the first day of school went rather smoothly.
Tomorrow, we get to do this all again for my daughter as she starts Pre-K.
I hope you have a great transition back to school as well! Do you have any fun traditions you do for the first day of school?
Featured Blog Posts: