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  • Writer's pictureValerie

5 Tips Before the First Day of School

Meeting the teacher on the first day of school

Yes, I know it’s still July, but here in our household, we’re only 30 days away from the first day of school.

There are a lot of feelings going into the first day of school, especially if your kiddo is starting Kindergarten.

I thought I'd give you my top five tips before the first day of school.

#1- It’s okay to be late every once in a while.

A red alarm clock
tick- tick-tok-clock

This one took a while to sink in. I am a self-diagnosed people pleaser and one of those people that sees being on time means I’m late. But if in my hustle and desire to be ‘on time’ makes me yell at my kids and project anxiety and frustration at them kiddos then I am not setting them up for a successful day.

It seems idealistic but I want to be the gentle hands helping a little bird fly not the force of gravity saying ‘Gravity works’ I want my kids to feel loved as they step out of my car and step into the hustle and bustle of school.

So as the clock ticks on and the shoes cannot be found, take a breath, and know how you love your kid at that moment will be remembered long after Kinder graduation.

#2-Good kids come from poorly rated schools, and Bad kids come from the best-rated schools.

Kids doing school work in classroom

This was a hard realization. When my husband and I moved from Houston to Dallas with a two-year-old in tow, school districts were an important factor in choosing our future home. We knew what part of town we wanted to live in and overall, the district was highly rated. But we couldn’t afford the homes in the good High School zone. Granted my only kid at the time was two. (Sorry I’m a planner) My heart got pretty yucky, but then I remembered that I knew a couple of people that graduated from each of the High Schools, and I had to laugh. One became a missionary and one was a bit of a failure to launch case. Can you guess who came from the ‘not so great school’?

Yep, the one that failed to launch came from the “Good” school and the Missionary came from the “bad” school, because schools are only part of the equation.

So much more goes into the resilience, grit, and perseverance of kids than what schools they go to.

I’m not saying this to throw caution to the wind and not be attentive to school districts, etc. But to put your heart to rest that one school is not going to be the success or failure of your child. You have more say in that than a school district does.

#3- The Course of a good morning is set the night before.

bedtime kids reading

I said above that I’m a planner, but in all honesty, I’m a planner until the rubber hits the road and some ADD tendencies take control. So, I have to be very proactive in setting my kids up for morning success.

I’m not the mom who sets out my kid’s clothes for the week in a cubby system in the closet. I totally would if my kids weren’t a human tornado, but it is a great idea. I have boys so it’s not so much about what to wear, but forcibly encouraging them just to put clothes on. Not just any clothes but clean ones too. I tell my kids I don’t care if they go to school in their jammies, but it will be the principal they talk to about the dress code, not me. But I digress.

At my house, I prep lunches the night before. Everything but Chips and lunch boxes zipped up is done so that nothing is forgotten. (most of the time- sorry boys) This takes a lot of stress out of my morning, cause like I said I have tornadoes in my house and two of them have ADHD, so corralling the dragonflies is enough crazy in the morning.

Take a moment and think through school mornings and what steps you can take the night before to lessen the amount of crazy that will be happening. Cause crazy will happen. When my oldest was in kinder I also had a two-year-old and a newborn- there was a day 9-1-1 was called and my husband had left the house with my cell phone. Murphy’s Law is inevitable.

#4-It’s okay if your kid goes into and comes out of Kinder not knowing how to read.

kid reading a book

Yes, this is coming from me, the bookworm and children’s author. But there is a lot of pressure as parents to have kids who walk into Kinder knowing how to read.

Learning to read starts with being read to. “Reading is a process…” and a skill learned over time and at different rates. One of my son’s first-grade teacher, saw that my son wasn’t reading at the beginning of first grade, and she said the sweetest thing when I expressed my concern.

She said ‘We’ll get there, we won’t give up on him. I’ve seen it time and time again that the reading switch turns on in the course of first grade.” And sure enough, she was right. Come the middle of first grade the concepts he was being taught clicked. I found out at a later time that eye development plays a key role in learning to read, and sometimes it takes boys until they’re eight years old to establish the muscle and focus necessary to read.

My biggest soapbox here is that you and your kid’s teachers are a team to point your kids toward success. Raise concerns as you have them and be willing to support the teacher just as much as your child. If you are a homeschooling mom, be patient. Continue with basic concepts and celebrate the smallest milestone. Readers are made in the laps of the ones they love.

#5- Tears happen.

Child crying in Mom's lap

Of my three kids, it was my youngest that cried on the first day (5 days) of school. He is my go-getter, “I got this”, no fear kid, so this shocked me on that first morning. It was the hardest thing not to cry also and scoop him up and take him home.

But it also was a good opportunity to speak life and confidence into him. His teacher and even the principal were so supportive in helping my little guy take the big brave steps away from momma.

It’s important to recognize what they are feeling. Then help them focus on what is true. The teachers seek to make it a fun day and they care for their students in a big way. That they are strong and capable to do this ‘big kid’ thing.

If you have a kiddo heading to kindergarten this fall, they are going to do great. And so are you, Momma/Dadda

Here are a few books to help with the nerves and excitement of starting school.

Collage of books about the first day of school

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