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Steps taken now will ease first-day jitters

It's a brand new school year. Time for a fresh start, clean slate and all that. Preparation and organization are key components for those wanting to start out on a good note — one that will hopefully ring all the way into June.

No doubt the first day of school is overwhelming for students, parents and teachers, too. Here are a few tips to help make that first day go just right:

The night before: 1. Lay out that first-day-of-school outfit. Give your child a say in what she wears to avoid any morning arguments, making sure it is within the parameters of the school dress code. Be sure that younger children will be wearing clothing that is easy for them to handle during trips to the bathroom. If you are ambitious, consider organizing a week's worth of outfits ahead of time. Remember: sneakers for P.E. days.

2. If your child brings his lunch to school, make it now and store in the fridge for easy grabbing come morning. If your child is buying his lunch, have the payment ready. For younger children, put payment in an envelope labeled with your child's name, his teacher's name and what it is for. Better yet, pay for your child's lunch ahead of time online. Go to www.mylunch money.com.

3. Pack that backpack with essential items, but don't load your young child down with all those heavy school supplies on the first day. Send them in bit by bit, one day at a time.

4. Review your child's class schedule with her. Make sure you have an extra copy at home.

5. Go over safety rules for bus riders, bike riders and walkers.

On the first day: 1. Get your child up bright and early.

2. Feed your child a good breakfast. Remember, food is fuel for the brain, and children cannot concentrate on learning if they are hungry. Avoid too much sugar, which might provide energy now but will have your child crashing mid-morning.

3. Getting to school:

• If your child is a bus rider, make sure he gets to the stop five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

• Car riders should leave in plenty of time and be prepared to wait in line.

• There's safety in numbers. Walkers should have a buddy. Bike riders need a helmet.

4. Make your goodbyes short and sweet. This is especially important for first-timers who are sure to pick up on mom and dad's apprehensions. One tear from you can create a classroom flood and make it more difficult for your child to adapt. Give them a hug and a kiss, wish them a great day and be off. Go ahead and attend the special "Boo Hoo Breakfasts" that are often offered to parents of pre-K and kindergarten students.

5. When the day is over, it's time to talk. Ask your child about her day and share yours. If you have any concerns, don't let them fester. Contact the teacher or the school. Go through that backpack and fill out any required paperwork that has come home. If there's homework to be done, make sure your child gets on it. Pack that backpack for tomorrow and get ready to do it all over again.

Steps taken now will ease first-day jitters 08/02/08 [Last modified: Saturday, August 2, 2008 10:49am]
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