Plan for a Shiny New School Beginning

Take a picture before they climb on the bus. After all, this is a milestone to remember.

The countdown is on. In no time, they’ll be all gussied up in their back-to-school best and waving at you. “Bye, mommy. Bye, daddy. Bye.”
Take a picture before they climb on the bus or trot down the street, one each and every first day of school.  After all, this is a milestone and you’ll then have a family record of shiny new beginnings.

When kids in unabashedly new outfits wait with their peers by the wall in the schoolyard for teachers to post class lists, there’s always a shiver of anticipation in the air.  Those lists, usually in red marker on large, lined sheets of white paper, determine the school days for the next 10 months.

What teacher will be at the front of the class? What friends and playmates might there be in this grade? What new students are in the crowd, having moved and switched schools over the summer?
It is pretty exciting stuff. 

At the end of the day, they’ll come rushing home, full of news and with backpacks full of forms to sign. Have your chequebook and pen at the ready. Every year, as expected, there are fees for student activities, agendas, yearbooks or fundraisers. This is also your cue to stop what you’re doing, sit down and share a special time.
Listen. Are your youngsters enthusiastic about the school year to come? Do they have positive things to say?
If they’re voicing concerns, calmly support them to talk things through. One year, my youngest came home and said of his new teacher, “Mom, she needs help.” She did, so I volunteered.
Always, asking about favorite people can help put smiles on young faces. After all, the first day of school should be a good day. 
Much can be done ahead of time to ensure the best start:

  • If you’ve been too busy vacationing to shop for school supplies, get snapping.  Was a list provided in June? If so, follow it, while sorting through what you have and what can be reused. Did the list vanish? Not to worry. Check the school website or call the parent of a classmate. Even if you don’t get everything prior to September 4, there’s always a grace period to allow folks to get organized.
  • If there is no list, make a plan with your youngsters to take the essentials on the first day, then head out for a shopping trip ASAP. (Discuss what’s needed and what isn’t before you get to the stores.)
  • Be sure the kids have something nice to wear and everything is ready on September 3, including backpacks by the front door, clothes laid out, lunches made and in the refrigerator. (Add a little note, sticker, funny eraser or chocolate to each of their lunch bags for some extra TLC.)
  • Since they might have trouble sleeping the night before school, start the bedtime rituals a little earlier and spend a little longer, reading stories, cuddling, talking about the good times to come.

The key to an A+ day is for your children to feel prepared and confident and for you to set the tone for a happy beginning. You may even want to plan a celebratory dinner to mark this new year.
Hopefully they’ll be looking forward, eagerly, to more of kindergarten or Grade 4 or Grade 11.


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