The Last First Day

Are you ready for the upcoming school year? Have you done your back to school shopping?  Is your wife having restless nights as you get closer and closer to the first day?  If so, join Glen and Craig for fool proof tips to get your daughter’s new school year off to a great start!

The change from the day to day routine during summer to structure of school, especially when your little one is just getting started – can be stressful for the entire family.

It’s normal for everyone to worry, but it’s important for your daughter to look forward to the experience.  If they are just getting started, they’ll feel like a big girl.  Often your oldest daughter will set the stage for how her younger siblings view school when they are ready to start.

As a dad of daughters, your wife is most likely to be anxious and it is important not to let her concerns influence how your daughter views school.  When you or your wife talk to you daughter, the conversations should always be positive, reinforcing that they get to do something important and fun.

Aside from the back to school outfit, the back pack and school supplies ensure your daughter is well rested and well fed as they start the school year. 

Thanks to a great article from AnxietyBC.com, they suggest starting the transition to the new school year at least one week before with the following:

  • Start your child on a school-day routine – waking up, eating, and going to bed at regular times. Explain that everyone in the family needs to adjust to the new schedule, so he or she doesn’t feel alone with these changes.
  • For older children who having troubles getting up and out of bed, give them a “big person” alarm clock, and let them practice using it.
  • Ask your child to help plan school lunches for the first week.
  • Create a list of school supplies together and plan a fun shopping trip.
  • Teach and practice coping skills to use when feeling nervous, such as How to Do Calm Breathing and Developing and Using Cognitive Coping Cards

A couple days before school:

  • Go to school several times – walking, driving, or taking the bus. For young children taking the school bus, describe and draw out the bus route, including where the bus goes and how long it takes to get to school. Talk about bus safety.
  • For new students, take a tour of the school. Show your child the classrooms, the cafeteria, and the bathrooms. If possible, meet your child’s teacher with your child present.
  • Ask your child to help choose the outfits for the first week of school. Let your child wear his or her favorite outfit on the first day.
  • Together with your child, pack up the schoolbag the night before, including treats.
  • For younger children who are nervous about separating, suggest taking a special object to school that reminds him of home. A reassuring note in a child’s lunch can also help ease separation anxiety. [Consider reading one of the following two books The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn or The Night Before Kindergarten by Audrey Wing prior to the start of school]

The first day of school:

  • If you know you daughter has someone she knows in her class, arrange to have your child go to school with a friend for the first couple of days.
  • A tradition you want to consider starting is to take your daughter’s photo with her back pack in the same location on the first day of school each year.
  • Make sure you and your wife put on a brave face. It’s probably tougher on you than it is on them. 
  • Praise and reward your child for brave behavior! Consider going out for frozen yogurt or something special after the first day of school.

School Supplies

Good luck to all of you parent out there that are having children starting school.  It’s a another chapter in a wonderful journey and goes by fast.  The better start you get, the easier the transition for everyone.

Back to school shopping goes hand and hand with going back to school. Good Housekeeping.com provides a recommended list of school supplies needed for school.

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