Monday, July 13, 2009

First Day Of School Advice

What is YOUR best advice for your kids' first day of school? No matter what their age, everyone has first day jitters.....even most teachers. Everything is new and different. New teachers, new schedule, new subjects, new lunch group. Exciting stuff. Sets the pace for the entire year.

Should kids get to wear whatever they want that day? Is that important? Should they ride the big yellow bus or is that too humiliating so you will drive them? Will they brown bag it or see what's new on the lunch line? What do you hope their teachers will say the first day of school? What should they take with them?

What is the conversation like around your breakfast table that very first morning, or maybe at dinner the night before? Click on COMMENTS below and share your thoughts. Let's see what we come up with.


  1. Good questions, Sandra! I'm looking forward to what others will share.

    My twins, Connor & Allyson, are now 15 and will be sophmores next month. Looking back, here are some of the strategies--based on universal or spiritual principles--we used to prepare for the first day of school. (Not surprisingly, it's what I now share with adults who want to excel at work.)

    I encourage them to picture in their mind (visualize)and talk about what their best possible first day would be like. We often create affirmations to support that, like: My teachers are cool, the classes are interesting and my lunch group is fun. And, we give thanks for what is and what will be as they begin a new school year. All of this is based on the simple truth that your thoughts create your reality, so think positive!

  2. Thank you for your valuable comment. I couldn't agree more. I really need the reminder myself in everything I do. Too often we go to what is wrong rather than making the choice to focus on what we really want. Okay, I'm getting back on track!!!

  3. I don't think I have ever really thought about these questions! When I was younger, my Dad was very big on making sure we got into school mode. A few days before school started, he would begin making us go to bed early and getting us up early so that we coul get back into the sleeping routine. Mom always made sure to pick up our supply lists before school started so that we had a few days to gather the supplies. I think this helped us to feel prepared on the first day when we already had the right number of notebooks, dividers, ect. Later, when I got older, shopping for the first day of school outfit also became a tradition. We woul celebrate the end of the summer by driving to the mall, shopping, and then eating out which is something we use to never do, so it was special. The first day of school, Dad would take us to breakfast at a local place called Ma Hawkins where we got all kinds of yummy breakfast favorite was the pancakes. Then he would drive us to school. I am not sure I amswered how you would have liked, but to sum it up, buying the supply list before hand helped me to feel prepared, shopping for school clothes made it feel like a special occasion, and eating out with my dad on the first day helped me to look forward to it.

  4. Barbara McConnellJuly 15, 2009 at 9:23 AM

    We always talked about a new beginning -new teachers, new friends, a clean slate. A chance to develop and improve study habits. We also talked about changes the new year would bring - mom back at work and encouraging everyone to pitch in and help out at home.

  5. We eased into the day after waking up early for 3 days to a week before. We talked about their teachers/schedules. Who was in their classes? Of course from k - 12 we had the first day of school pictures on the front porch. Even in high school - they did not mind but told us to hurry. I could never take them to school but their dad always took them the first day (until they were driving with a parking spot.)

  6. I love your ideas from a parent and student perspective. Allyson, if every student had the preparation and celebration you describe, school would be off to a GREAT start for everyone! Thanks for your comments everyone.

  7. What a great idea! I am going to send this on to my children and ask them share their comments. As a Mother of four, I remember as though it was yeasterday, packing our van and heading to Eastpoint, Ga. to take our first born Valerie Joy to college. Valerie attened Atlanta Christian College her first two years and then on to Berry College in Rome, Ga. for her last two years where she graduated. The feelings of letting her go & knowing in our heart that we had given our best as parents lingered on. Many times we question ourselves whether we should have or could have done something different or better. When you do your best, that is all that is required.

    Our youngest son, Jason Todd, was boarding the school bus going into first grade; I stood at the bus stop and some young neighbor child promised me he would make sure Todd was ok. I shed some tears knowing that our number four child was up and running. Jason is an engineer with Dell. It seems a bit strange to think back that many years....oh goondess. Lisa Rae and Ray Jr. our middle children, both blended in with making our home special with Lisa attending North Ga. College in Dahlonega. Ga & is back in college leaning toward a nursing degree. Ray Jr. learned the power of discipline at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga. and has his degree as well. He has an insurance agency & works from home. All four children have excelled in their field and have blessed me & my husband with 19 grandchildren. We will celebrate 50 years of marriage next year.
    Even though we did not do all things "right" we did them with love which is the greates gift you can give your children.

    I have enjoyed reading all of the comments about first day school preparations and know that we as a family experenced some of the same patterns. It was always fun going to the school with our children making sure they knew where to go for their classes, meeing many of their taechers, shopping prior to their first day getting the much needed materials, taking pictures of those first days and so much more.
    A good breakfast was immportant to me as a Mother along with prayers for a good day!
    It seems as though it was yesterday I can remember yelling, "did you brush your teeth" as the bus would be in sight and they were headed out the front door!

    I believe first day preparations are vital. Setting proper examples to our children will take them into adult life with boldness & confidence.

    It is a bit unique that I was talking to Valerie (Mother of 9 that happens to home school her children), just this afternoon and we discussed how important it is to give the much needed direction when you realize your child has talent or interest in certain areas. All of our children understand the importance of this principle in allowing their children to grow and develop their talents!

    Thank you for listening and allowing me to share.

  8. I love everyone's answers so far and look forward too getting many more responses! I only have one schoolbus picture! Back then you had to have film AND you had to know where you left the camera! Hmmm.

    I remember my first days of school in the early elementary grades in Macon,GA. My mother would go with me....all the mothers did back then. It was the fifties after all! She made sure I met my teacher and got settled in with a friend.

    When Jeremy, now an IT Network Consultant, started Murdock Elementary School it was right up his alley. That's the year we actually got the school bus picture! He loved details, organization, and structure. He loved writing and numbers. His teacher asked the young students to start with 1 and write as many numbers in order as they could on a roll of adding machine tape. He used up the whole roll of paper! Ever since he has always added excellent attention to detail, order, and dependability wherever he goes.

    Taking Trip, now a Landscape Architect, to Young Harris College and "leaving him there" was tough. He was the first to go. But he thrived in the beauty and depth of Nature as he always has whether as Camp Counselor in the mountains, camping out, or among plants and trees in his work in Colorado today. He chose the tradition and closeness of YHC over huge UGA for his first days of school in college. Ever since then he has been making outdoor places more beautiful because he has been there.

    This year the only family member I have with a first day of school is their dad, my partner (modern word),Larry. He is 8 years into his second career as a high school teacher. One of his students gave him a letter at the end of school with a hole in it in the shape of a heart....because as she said, not having Mr. Wilkes next year would leave a hole in her heart. Awwwww.....

    It all starts with the first day...and then the first day again every year. And it will start over again soon and everyone will remember their own first days of school in September...sorry, it's August now!

  9. I just have to say first that I love this blog! My situation is a little different as our son is in Special Early Education classes. We are so grateful to have this program available and we absolutely love it. He gets lots of Speech instruction for Apraxia and is making leaps and bounds. We have no doubt now that he will be ready for kindergarten and I love all the comments and tips that I will certainly use when he leaves me for all day.

    That being said, we go always make sure to go to the open house that is held before the first day. I think it really helps to get to know the teachers before hand and they are much more able to talk when they are not trying to get prepared for class. It puts him at ease and us as well. Then we can cement the easiest way to reach the teacher and what is the easiest way to communicate as I think that's so important during the school year. We buy a fun backpack, do art projects related to school, and get school supplies. He loves school and that helps.

    Last year though, he made a lot of friends and because he won't turn 5before September, he actually has one more year with his ECE classes. He seems sad that his friends are moving on to kindergarten and he's not. Any ideas on how to ease him into next school year making new friends? It's a little different with his speech limits and his age.

  10. Thanks Tatertot Mom! I love your name! Clever. I just know your sweet little one will adjust beautifully when he goes back to school. Once he bonds a little with his teacher and realizes, as a 4 year old certainly does, that his teacher cares about him and that he is safe and belongs, he will be fine. It may take a little longer to make new friends and get really comfortable with them, but he will. Hope the year is a great one for you and your family. This blog will continue to have school talk for awhile so come back often.

  11. Hi tatertotmom,
    I enjoyed your comments and understand your concern for your son and surely understand his sadness when his friends are moving up and he is not. In my opinion, I would promote how wonderful it will be for him to be the leader and help other new children who have not been in the class. I am sure he will catch the vision when you talk to him about making the new students feel comfortable on their first day!
    Just my thoughts.

  12. Very well said. This is a great opportunity for him to be a leader! A blessing in disguise.

  13. I have two kids, ages 9 and 10. We usually talk about their schedule, who will be their teacher, will they have the same classmates and room. As far as advising is concerned, I usually let my wife do it, because for me she is more knowledgable with school activities.


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