We, teachers, know that we aren’t the only busy ones around back-to-school time. Between tracking down lengthy lists of school supplies, shopping for the coolest new clothes, and balancing out new after-school schedules, it can be a whirlwind for parents, too. Here is a quick list of things to remember when sending your child to school on the first day.
1) Transportation: Many teachers will tell you that the biggest stress of the first day of school is simply ensuring that each child makes it home the right way. While teachers should already have this information on file and most schools have excellent systems in place, it still doesn’t hurt to make sure your child knows exactly how to get home, especially the little ones. Sending your child into school with some sort of visual reminder of his/her bus number (such as a hot pink sticky note in the netting section of the book bag) will only help if any questions should arise throughout the day.
2) School Supplies: Be sure to send all required materials into school on the first day (if not before). Teachers dedicate a lot of time to organizing/labeling materials on the first day. Many parents ask, “Should I write my child’s name on the materials?” Unless your child’s teacher previously specified his/her preference, leave them blank. Many of the materials will be collected and dispersed as needed throughout the year. Now, if it is an extra special Hannah Montana pencil box or Captain America folder, that’s another story!
3) Office Forms: Return all office forms back to school A.S.A.P, particularly the ones with transportation and contact information. The sooner these come in, the sooner the office can enter the data into the system, and the sooner your child’s teacher can get on with the ‘good stuff’.
4) Sweater/Jacket: Schools tend to hike up the A.C. knowing that hundreds of little bodies are about to inhabit the space. Stuff a light jacket or sweater into your child’s book bag just in case. We want the kids to feel as comfortable as possible on the first day!
5) Lunch: If your child plans on buying lunch at certain times throughout the year, allow him/her to do it at least once during the first week. This is the time when teachers tend to linger to ensure the kids make it through the lunch lines okay, and also the time when cafeteria workers explain routines. If you plan to pack lunch for your child throughout the school year, try to include simple easy-to-open and close items that allow your child more time to chow down. Cafeteria monitor hands are not always available (especially during the first week), and time flies when children are having fun socializing with new friends!