‘Twas the night before school started and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…well… except maybe the responsible parent who is making sure that lunches are ready, that backpacks are by the door, that clothes are laid out, and that breakfast dishes are set. The first step in making sure that the first day back to school is a happy one is being prepared the night before. Make sure the kidlets are in bed at a reasonable time. Ideally, elementary aged children should have 10 hours of sleep per night. They can help before they go to bed by laying out their clothes, putting their backpacks by the door, setting the breakfast table and checking their alarm clocks (perhaps allowing a few extra minutes this particular morning so as not to feel too rushed or anxious getting ready). Another step in making the first day back to school a happy one is making a “special” breakfast. Let the children choose a breakfast item that they want and maybe normally wouldn’t get (pancakes, strudels etc.) Make it even more special with a note by their plate wishing them a great day. If they take a lunchkit to school, why not slip a note in there as well (maybe with a silly joke on it). This next step is more of a strategy that I have had to resort to for my nervous or anxious child, and that is to let them bring a family photo in their backpack that they can look at if they need to during the day. We all know that misery loves company and that there is strength in numbers, so another good step to take is to make sure that your kids go with or meet up with friends, especially for the first day. On that note, if you are able to linger a little longer than usual and stay with them (or if they will let you) until the bell goes, this might be good thinking as well. Lastly, have a plan for meeting up after school and perhaps again a special treat (a stop at a certain coffee and donut place never goes unappreciated at our house). It might seem like a lot of extra planning now but it does help to make the day run smoothly. Besides, before you know it there will come a time when you won’t need to do all that work and you’ll simply be driving them to the parking lot at school and waving good bye as they grunt something monosyllabic back at you. It’s then that you’ll long for these days with the fondest of memories. So enjoy and don’t forget to just breathe sometimes…just breathe.
Live, Love, Laugh and Learn !