Wisdom Wednesday

A “can-do” attitude:

Small, helpful ways to help your kids get ready for their first day of school

There sure seems to be a lot of prep involved with getting your kids ready to go back to school. There’s the mad dash to shop for shoes/clothes/supplies/snacks, the all-important hair cut, the struggle to get back on that early bedtime schedule, and adjusting to wearing (eek!) socks again. However, there are some seemingly small things you can do ahead of time with your children to make their first days and weeks of school go so much more smoothly.

Even if your child has been in daycare since she was an infant, “real school” is often a different animal. The kid to adult ratio is higher, and the expectations for independence are, too. Below are some tips, gathered from both the “teacher” and the “mommy” halves of my brain, for how you can help your soon-to-be big kid transition to school. Some might seem like little things, but they’ll make a big difference…really!

  • Pack snack and lunch foods that your child will eat and you deem acceptable. Don’t pack the foods you don’t want her to eat. I’ve had parents tell me it was the school’s job to make sure their child didn’t eat their “dessert” foods until they’d eaten their main course foods first. Possible in a daycare perhaps, but not possible in school.
  • Tell your child not to toss left-over food at school- bring it home! You might discover she is eating every drop of food and still starving, has way too much food and is wasting tons in the trash, or that she’s eating only fruit snacks and not touching those carefully prepared turkey-and-hummus-with-spring-greens sandwiches you’ve been making. There’s a lot of info in that lunch box when the scraps come home periodically.
  • Opening Snacks 101: String cheese, Capri Sun, and little hands. Teachers and lunchroom aides are always happy to help open difficult packages, but it’s less embarrassing for kids to know how to do it themselves, and it’s nice for them to not have to wait for help when they’re starving. Practice those hard-to-open things at home, or pre-pull a corner on the cheese when you pack it.
  • Make sure she knows how to wipe all by herself in the bathroom! This might seem like a no-brainer, but I once had a first grader ask me to check after he wiped (I declined, saying “Just do your best job and have mom check at home…I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”).
  • Function first, form second with clothing. Skirts, tights, overalls, skinny jeans…all adorable, however, be sure to dress your child in clothing that she can handle without assistance. It’s not that teachers don’t want to help snap a snap, but that kids are embarrassed to ask and don’t want their classmates to see them ask for help after they return from a bathroom break.
  • Dress for fun and learning! No one wants to be the kid on the playground who is terrified of being yelled at by Mom and Dad for getting dirt on her brand new, expensive clothes. No…fun…at all. Make sure your kids are able to be kids. I’ve had parents tell me that they “hope there won’t be anything messy like painting going on today” because their kids are in fancy clothes. There are, of course, smocks, but there are also…five year olds and paint. No guarantees here on anything made of silk or angora.

Best wishes for a happy first day back!

10 thoughts on “Wisdom Wednesday

  1. I got them on Inchbug.com (http://www.inchbug.com/), but I am sure Amazon has a similar thing. If you have never checked out Inchbug.com, its cool. I love their name stickers/tags/etc. Makes it very easy to label bottles/sippy cups/etc for daycare/school.

  2. I would also say remember ice packs in the lunches. I don’t know how many times our daycare sends home notes having to remind people of that. And once they go to school the lunches won’t be checked like daycares do so most likely will never be reminded. I found some plastic food containers online (BPA free) that have lids you can put in the freezer, built in ice pack (just don’t put them in the dishwasher or microwave). You can also freeze the drink box and it will melt by lunch and keep everyone cold till then.

    1. Wow!! That’s soooo cool about the freezer lids! I am going to be checking Amazon for those. That’s awesome. What a great idea!! Ice packs really make everything so much better. Warm grapes and a warm cheese sandwich with warm juice to drink…ew. Just gross 😦

  3. I would say get a good backpack that last. Not only will it save you in the long run but also can help her back as well. Some of those cheap backpacks don’t sit right on their backs leading to more problems. LLBean now has some fun/colorful kid backpacks that last. And with LLBeans guarantee, if anything happens you can send it back to be fixed or replaced. I have even sent them back and got the next size up; they just charge you the difference. They also have lunch boxes that go with each bag as well.

  4. LOVE this week’s Wisdom Wednesday. With Lana going back to school next Wednesday (starting 2nd grade) and Caleb going to daycare/preschool for the first time this coming Monday; I enjoyed reading all of your tips. Even though I think I am a veteran already, a little reminding always helps. The worst thing is that I am a last minute person in everything of my life. I still need to go out and buy Lana a new backpack and now Caleb wants one too. I don’t know, what do other people thing, is it appropriate to spend a good amount of money on a backpack for a second grader that should last them for a few years, or continue to by the fun colorful ones that only last one school year?

    1. I wondered this same thing with Nate’s preschool one…and I ended up getting an inexpensive one for now. He only carries extra clothes and papers from school at this point so I’m not worried about his back. But when he’s older and has books, etc., then we will get a better quality one 🙂

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