Tear-free zone: How to avoid crying on your kid's first day of school
"Let her go!" is a popular song, but when your kindergartner or high school freshman leave for their first day, how do you let them go without tears! Learn fun new traditions to avoid the first day melt down or high school mama drama humiliation.
The crying was uncontrollable, sniffing and tiny muffled sobs with snot beginning to pool. The kindergarten teacher offered a tissue box and said, "Now, now, it is only a few hours. You will be just fine." Tearfully the mother took the tissue and wailed, "It's just the beginning!"
"Would you like the Grand Slam breakfast or the strawberry waffle special?" the waitress asked. The husband and wife held hands and smiled. "My, you are so in love, the waitress commented. What's the occasion?" The wife's eyes twinkled, and the husband laughed. "First day of school," he replied. "It's a tradition to take the day off together and go to a big breakfast."
From first child to the sixth child, our first day of school transformation was amazing. Here is a list of tried and true back to school ideas:
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others
Make a first day of school plan so that when your student leaves and the house is empty, you have something to look forward to. Schedule a date with a spouse or friend. It may be a good day for a pedicure, even if it's a do-it-yourself pedicure and spa day. When you are taken care of and have something to look forward to, you will do a better job of caring for your children's mental, physical and emotional needs.
Read your mail, local papers or find the school online
Watch for school supply lists. If you don't receive one, call and ask. Gather supplies throughout the year so that the cost isn't so shocking.
Plan to dress for fun
New clothes are optional, not mandatory. Some parents save and have a one-day blowout shopping extravaganza. Some parents get one special outfit for the first day. The most important part is to plan ahead. Don't forget your own first-day outfit. You are making your own first-day impression on the school and teacher. Get dressed up, go in and volunteer for your local parent-teacher organization.
Sports, music and extracurricular fun
Work with friends to exchange outgrown and gently used practice gear, instruments and uniforms. Make sure that you check on your schools fees for activities. Find out if your school requires a mandatory annual physical for sports. Some local urgent care facilities and clinics offer discounted sports physicals. These are not always covered by insurance. Get your kids involved in raising funds for their extracurricular expenses. Help then earn funds for their sports fees, uniform fees and special equipment. Maybe volunteer to put together a local sports closet where parents can donate gently used items for other students to use.
Contact your local school and investigate sports scholarships and other resources to help your rising star have the opportunity to be able to participate in drama, music, art class or any other activity that is important to your student.
Practice going to school before it starts
Walk the route to school pointing out safe places to get help along the way. Drive the bus route. Talk to our child about bus etiquette. If your child is new to elementary school, talk about a meeting place for pick up. You and your child will rest easier with a plan. Play school at home and let your students spend time on the school campus.
Make the playground and campus home
Visit the playground more than once before school starts. Let kids get comfortable on the play structures. Teach them how to play a little basketball, or give them the skills necessary to be comfortable. While you play, talk to them about bullying. Instruct them to report bullying and to protect others by finding a teacher or playground monitor when a classmate is bullied.
Prepare yourself to say goodbye to your students
Your student will sense your anxiety and reluctance to let go of your baby. Your baby may be a freshman in high school, but, for some reason, when it's time for them to get on the bus or leave the carpool to walk in the building, they suddenly look very, very small, and you may have an overwhelming desire to kiss and hug them in front of their peers. Restrain yourself.
Logo, logo, logo
Find new or used school t-shirts and sweatshirts. Have school pride. Talk about school pride and what does that mean. Teach your child a little school history if you can locate it.
Find your school's website. Are homework assignments posted online? Look for other fun ways to help your student online.
Clean up! Everybody everywhere
The day before the fun starts. Make your home environment organized, clean and stress-free for the day. Organize a system for backpacks, coats and homework. Catch up on laundry and lay out new clothes, supplies, backpacks and any money kids will need.
Early to bed. The night before, keep the house calm and quiet. Focus on your children's needs and wishes. Fill your hug bank with hugs and your heart with love.
See you at breakfast on the first day of school.
The big day. Start every school day with a positive atmosphere. Ask questions to find out what everyone's plans are, what they need and what they would like to see. Check for after-school activities, lunch money, sports fees and more. Then ask about the entire next week to avoid surprises. End by sharing something spiritual and inspirational to send you both out the door mentally ready — ready to go to school, and ready to say goodbye.
Shannon Symonds, Author of Safe House due to be released July 2017 by Cedar Fort, has 15 years experience working as an Advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence while raising 6 children in Seaside Oregon. She loves to write, run and Laugh