3 ideas for making the first day ever the best day ever
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Do you have a child starting school for the first time this year?
Is he a little bit nervous about his first day?
Are you a little bit nervous?
Here are three ideas to make your child's first day of school special, special enough that she may consider her first day ever to be her best day ever!
Send a special memento
Some kids are super worried about being away from their parents for the first time. And even kids who are super excited about starting school may be afflicted with a little bit of separation anxiety. And even kids who have been to preschool or child care before this year can be struck with a relapse of anxiety when confronted with a brand new environment.
That's why it's a great idea to send your child off to school with a memento, something he can look at throughout the day to think of you when he's feeling a little bit lonely. Here are some ideas:
- Your child can wear a locket with a favorite family photo, or a photo of a favorite summer vacation activity.
- Send your child off to school with a note. When my daughters started kindergarten, I always wrote a note on a post-it attached to their morning Goldfish crackers, and my husband wrote a joke on their juice boxes. For pre-readers, drawings or stickers work just as well.
- My older daughter needed a little bit of extra comforting on her first day of school, so we let her take her special stuffed animal to school with her. Of course, we only allowed it once we secured a promise that Bunny would remain in her backpack!
- Lots of kids love rubber stamps and stickers. Why not get some ink on a stamp with a favorite Disney princess or member of the PAW Patrol? Then your child can look at his hand and see one of his best imaginary friends when he needs comforting. (If a visible stamp isn't kosher with the school's dress code, under the sleeve works well too!)
Take some European inspiration
There's a pretty amazing tradition in Germany, the Czech Republic and parts of Austria, Switzerland and Poland. On the first day of school, children in those countries are given a schultute by their parents or grandparents. This is a large cardboard cone that's decorated and filled with toys, chocolates, candy and school supplies.
My own mother had heard about this tradition and thought her own grandchildren deserved such a gift for their first day of school. And they loved it!
All you need to do is fashion some cardboard into a tube of whatever size you desire, decorate with stickers that are personalized to your child's interests and fill it up with all his favorite treats!
End the day with a bang
You started out the day with some fun treats and you made sure your child had a piece of home with him during the school day. Now it's time to end the day with something special. Think about what your child loves to do, and plan on making the time to do it after school lets out the first day. It could be as simple as a trip to a favorite playground or as elaborate as a fancy meal at a favorite restaurant.
Just make sure to take your child's personality into account. If your child needs the added incentive of something to look forward to in order to get through the school day, it's probably a good idea to tell her ahead of time what the plan is. On the other hand, if you have a child who loves to be surprised, keep the outing secret until pickup time.
Also, remember that a long day of enforced good behavior and structure can be exhausting for a young child. For that reason, it may be a good idea to plan a relaxing evening at home with a special meal in front of a favorite movie.