Making First Day of School Stress-Free -- Member Tips and Suggestions

by Melissa Jaramillo

First Day of SchoolThe first day of a new school year is looming. As you and your "student" anticipate (and dread this day), the starting date on the calendar keeps creeping closer and closer.

We asked our members for advice and suggestions to kick off the new school year as smoothly as possible. Read through their tips to help you prepare and enjoy the journey without tears and loss of hair!

Member Tips for a Stress-Free First Day of School

Pre-Planning

Kandice suggests, "Be prepared! Gather all the forms sent home after registration. Make certain you've signed everything and met all the requirements like immunization records or exemptions, birth certificates and transfer records. You don't want your child pulled from class and sent home pending requirement needs."

"Grab the checklist of supplies ahead of time for your child's classroom. Some teachers require a particular color notebook or folder, mechanical pencils over regular #2s or a specific pack of crayons. You may be expected to buy things like toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and wipes. The 'back-to-school' lists can be crazy!" Maria offers.

Build Excitement

"Hit the library or your favorite bookstore. Read about starting school, including the 'fear factor' such as 'First Day Jitters' by Julie Danneberg or 'Kindergarten Rocks!' by Katie Davis. Talking about concerns and discovering things to look forward to helped ease my son into kindergarten," Jill says.

"Meet the teacher ahead of time if possible. On your tour visit the bathroom, cafeteria, and playground. This can help your child feel more comfortable on that first day," Faith suggests.

The Night Before

"Give baths, lay out clothes (including your own), find shoes, make lunches, locate keys to the car and set out items for breakfast. Whatever you can, do ahead! Moving out the door the next morning will go more smoothly," Makaila promises.

The First Day of School

"Set your alarm early. Inevitably, there will be unexpected delays getting out the door and dealing with traffic. Create a personal checklist to make sure that you have everything that you need. Don't forget your child as my husband almost did!" Amera admits.

"Eat breakfast! While mornings are hectic and busy, taking time out to feed both your child and yourself fuels both mind and body to help you face the day ahead," Gina reminds.

The Big "Drop-off"

"Try to take them on the first day if possible, even if they'll ride the bus later. Pad the amount of time that drop-off normally take by a few extra minutes. Park and walk them to the classroom if allowed and then leave. It will be worth it!" Rochelle says.

"Stay positive! Even if your mommy heart feels crushed at the thought of your little one heading to school, hold those tears until you get back to your car! Focused on how much fun they'll have and new friends. Keep repeating that to you as well," Wendy recommends.

After School Plan

"Will your child go straight from school to either daycare or after-school program? Learn whether they spend time with homework or simply allow the kids to unwind and play. You'll want to balance it with the opposite at home," Kathy suggests.

Recap of the Day

Chelle adds, "Revisit how your first day went. Was your child too tired to get up in the morning? Were you running late due to traffic? Was breakfast too rushed? Tweak your schedule to build a workable routine."

"Snuggle up! When your child is ready for bed, take time out to read together, talk about what was good and not so good in his day, and share ways that you can make tomorrow even better! You'll both cherish these moments as you head off to sweet dreams," Tammy shares.

How do you kick off the school year? Please add your ideas in the comments!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.