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Parents' Guide to the First Day of School

Updated on August 14, 2013

Well, it's finally here. The day you've been waiting three months for - the first day of school. You've purchased all necessary school supplies, outfitted the children with new clothes or uniforms, packed the lunchbox with delicious goodies that will be consumed with zealousness, set an early bedtime weeks in advance so the little ones will be eager to awake on that special first day and done everything you can think of to prepare for the momentous occasion.

But wait! The kids are all ready and something's not right. What did you forget? You forgot to prepare yourself emotionally for the first day of school and it's hitting you right now.

There are many articles online and in magazines on how to prepare your children for school but far fewer telling how to prepare yourself.


1. When bringing your child(ren) to school on the first day (or even the first week), don't linger in the halls or the classroom unless you have permission from the teacher or principal.

2. The first day is not a good time for a parent-teacher conference. If you have some real concerns, tell the teacher to call you at her convenience to set up a mutually agreeable time to meet and discuss them. Or, you could send a note with your child.

3. Take your child's lead. It may be that he or she is eager and excited for the new adventure. It may also be that it is a frightening and unsure time. Take a minute to reassure your child, offer encouraging words and give a quick hug and kiss (if it won't embarass the youngster). Then leave. Quickly.

4. A prepared child is a less anxious child. All necessary school supplies should be purchased and provided on the schedule set by the school or teacher. Lunch money or a lunch box ready for the day. Student drop-off in the morning and pick-up in the afternoon should be pre-arranged and your child confident in the procedure.

5. Complete and return all paperwork required by the teacher promptly.

6. Offer to help the teacher if you are able, but don't be disappointed if she's not quite ready for that. Many teachers prefer to establish rules and routines the first couple weeks of school and then welcome any and all help from interested parents.

7. Make sure your child eats a good breakfast.

8. DO NOT cry in front of your child. Save it for the parking lot.

9. Find a group of like-minded moms and go for coffee after the school bell rings. Toast each other or cry in each other's cups.

10. Stop worrying! It really will be ok.


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