Five Ways to Prepare Your Kids for a Great Start to the School Year
New experiences can inspire many emotions, and the first day of school is no exception! As summer comes to an end, your kids may start to feel excited or nervous about their first day back in class. As a parent, you might experience some of these feelings too – after all, you want your child’s first day to go well. Here are five ways you can prepare your kids for a great first day of school.
Set Up a Sleep Schedule
Suddenly waking up at a new time is hard, so establish a regular sleep schedule a few weeks before the first day of school. This will prepare kids to wake up on time that first morning feeling refreshed, not groggy. A structured sleep schedule also allows your child to regularly get the amount of sleep they need, which can help emotional and physical health.
Know That Nerves Are Normal
The first day of school might seem scary, and it’s completely normal for children to feel a little anxious about it. To help your child calm down, practice taking slow, deep breaths with them and remind them about good memories that they have from school. Show them they have your support by talking with them about how they feel and telling them you love them.
The Night Before: Pre-pack Their Backpack, Pick Tomorrow’s Outfit
Spending a little time planning the night before can help make your morning calmer. To help reassure your child they are prepared, you can pack their backpack and choose their clothes for the next day together. This also saves you from the stress of a last-minute scramble to get ready.
The Night Before: Pack a Powerful Lunch
Packing lunch the night before and storing it in the refrigerator is another way to ensure your child is prepared for the day. A lunch with lean proteins, whole grains and colorful fruits and veggies gives your child energy – a few ideas for healthy foods that keep well in a chilled lunchbox include:
- Fresh vegetables like baby carrots and broccoli.
- Cooked chicken and turkey slices.
- Whole-grain tortillas.
- String cheese or cheese cubes.
- Hummus (which goes great with cucumbers!).
- Boiled eggs.
When packing lunch, always be mindful of food allergies.
The Morning of: Wake Up Early, Eat Well and Give Hugs
Waking up a little bit early is a good plan for the first day – the extra time can help you avoid added stress from rushing out the door. While everyone eats a good breakfast, take a moment with your child and encourage them for the day ahead. A full belly, a smile and a nice hug can go a long way in helping them feel ready to start a great first day.
These tips can help soothe some of the stress that comes from starting something new, but if you have any concerns about your child’s anxious feelings, reach out for help from your child’s primary care provider.
About the Provider
Angela Bacigalupo, MD is a family medicine provider at Burlington Family Practice.