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5 Tips for a Positive First Day of School

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With summer right around the corner, most parents are thinking about the last day of school. But if you have a child who is just approaching school age, you may be thinking about her big first day of school.

That first big day can make a lasting impression on your child and her view of school. These five tips can help make the day a positive one.

1. Get Organized and Prepared Early

Being prepared and organized will make the morning less stressful. In the weeks before school starts, make sure that you have everything ready to go, including school supplies, medical forms, permission slips, etc.

If you're scrambling around trying to get everything ready to go that morning, you'll put a lot of undue stress on yourself and your child. The goal is to be as positive and calm as possible. Lots of changes are coming for your little one, so try not to make it more stressful than it needs to be.

2. Practice the School Routine

If your child is nervous or unsure about school, practicing the routine can help ease her nerves. When our youngest first started school, we had her wake up every weekday morning at the time she would be waking up for school. We practiced this, along with eating breakfast and getting dressed on time, for two weeks before the big first day.

It may also help to take a walk or drive to the school, so your child knows where she's going when she goes to school. Talk about who will pick her up at the end of the day, too, so she's prepared.

We talked about riding the bus and what to do when she gets to the school. I encouraged her to ask questions about the routine, too.

Going through the routine and answering her questions put her at ease. In fact, she went from being nervous to excited about going to school.

3. Know the School's Policies and Procedures

As a parent, it's important to know the school's policies and procedures for drop-off beforehand. This way, you know what to expect and what to do when you get to the school (if your child isn't taking the bus).

If you plan to walk your child to the classroom, you might need to plan to get there early. The school might have a visitor management system for safety reasons, which will require you to sign in and can slow up the process of getting into the school.

4. Get Ready the Night Before

Start getting ready for the first day the night before. Lay out clothes, get backpacks ready and have everything else ready to go for the morning.

Once you have everything prepared, make the rest of the evening fun. Play some games, spend time together as a family and enjoy a special dinner. Make the first day of school seem like the best thing in the world.

5. Plan Some After-School Fun

Brainstorm ideas with your child for some fun things to do after the school day ends. Maybe a trip to the park and some pizza afterwards.

If your child knows she's going to do something fun after the day is done, it will be much easier for her to get through the first day. And she'll have something to look forward to at the end of the day.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.