As a survivor of two elementary school students, (yes I said survivor) and an elementary school employee; I am here to let you in on the secrets to a smooth transition from summer to school.
First of all, remember TEACHERS ARE PEOPLE TOO! When you first meet them they have had literally days to get an entire class and curriculum ready. Their summer brain is still turned on too. They’ve been staying up late and not getting up early enough, just like the rest of us. Cut them some slack and don’t overwhelm them all at once.
Meet the teacher/Open House: Stick to the facts!
We know your kid is the brightest most wonderful child on the planet. Yet there is always that one mom (or five) that think their little one might not display the characteristics of their exceptional parenting at all times so they feel the need to tell the new teacher every single awesome thing little John or Jane can do.
Look, when a teacher (still in full summer brain) meets their class for the first time they don’t want to know how smart they are, they are going to find that out on their own. They want to know how to keep them safe. That is all.
- How are they getting home from school?
- Are there any custody issues?
- Are they allergic to anything?
Anything other than that is wasting your breath. I remember clear as day, taking my first born to our Kindergarten open house and having another mom take up all the teachers time with, “My son has been going to a very progressive preschool and I just want to know what you plan on teaching so we know how long it will be until all the other kids catch up to him.” Yes, I am quoting, because I still remember every single word years later. Everyone in line just stood there with their mouth open looking for baby Einstein. Turns out it was the kid running around the circle carpet with his shirt over his head.
If your kid is a gem, your teacher will know. No need to bring their resume.
First day jitters: I mean YOU mom!
We know it is scary leaving your babies with virtual strangers. It’s scary for the teachers to be left with a room full of baby strangers too!
- Take a dry run. If you are new to school or just switched to a new school, go a few days before school starts and show them where you will drop them off. Most importantly!!...where you are going to leave them. Show them where the playground is and go play with them so it starts out as a fun place. Show them where they will line up and where the teacher will take them in. Kids love a routine and they love to know what is coming next. Ease their fears by giving them a plan.
- First day of school lunch from home is a great idea. Its food they can count on liking and they don’t have to go through yet another new routine of how to get through the lunch line. THEN you have the chance to put a little treat they weren’t expecting in there that shows them you really are with them all day.
- Moms! If you stay home, plan on running errands or doing something to get out of the house. There is nothing worse than coming home to an empty house so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Psssst! No one is going to judge you if you put on Disney Channel just to have a familiar noise running in the background. If you have younger children, this is their time! Think of it as their ‘only child’ time they never had before.
If you really want to be a Supermom to your teacher:
Check in with the teacher a couple weeks into the school year after all the eager parents have bailed. By then, the teacher will at least know your kids name!
- Ask if they have enough helpers coming in.
- Ask if there is anything they still need from the supply list.
- Ask if any of the students were missing some supplies that you can grab for them. (If you don’t, odds are the teacher is going to pay for them out of their own pocket anyway.) You could shop at the school supply clearance and win major brownie points!
And for the love of everything holy...if you really REALLY want to impress your child’s teacher…..
Check backpacks, read and respond to communications from school! A lot of information comes home that first month; it is such a teacher time saver to have everything turned in quickly. Then they can turn their efforts to their favorite thing….
...counting down the days until Christmas break.