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Prepping your child for the first day of school

BY MYLENE DIZON

 

The end of summer has (finally) arrived and it’s once again time to send our little ones to school.  Woohoooo!!! I can finally have a few hours of peace and quiet at home!

 

While we may have been lax with our children when it comes to certain rules during the summer break, we now have to be (somewhat) strict and prepare them for their upcoming school schedule.

 

From setting meal times to putting them to bed earlier, preps are necessary to make the first few days of school as manageable for them as well as for us.

 

But prepping for the start of school is not all about these strict schedules, it can also be a chance for bonding when we go out with our kids to shop for their school needs.

 

My Tomas (8) and Lucas (4) love school but has always had trouble waking up for it.

 

If we share the same concern, whether it’s your child’s first day in school ever or not, the re-establishment of the school routine is a must to avoid early morning tantrums.  Not being a morning person myself, I understand what they go through but it’s all about routine and getting used to waking up at a certain time.  Help your child ease into this maybe 2 to 3 weeks before that dreaded first day of (chaos) school.  Set curfews on week 1 at around summer levels then deduct a few minutes a day until you reach your desired curfew.  Hopefully you can have them asleep at the targeted time 5 nights straight before school starts. 

 

Playing school at home is another handy trick to get their school groove going on that last stretch of summer.  If you have an older child, try to get the reading going again.  This works especially for my kids and I because it makes my little one want to learn how to read even more.  Have them solve simple math problems in the car like adding up the digits in plate numbers or subtracting, multiplying and even dividing if they are already at that stage in the previous school year.  Make it fun, treat is as a game, it is still summer vacation after all and this activity is really just to help your child wake up his brain.  Buy some activity books and have them solve what they can.  The idea is to let them get the hang of holding a pencil once again, not a keyboard or tablet.

 

Now let’s get to the fun part about prepping for school, and that is shopping!  If your kids are required to wear the school uniform then you’re pretty much done with half of the shopping you will need to do.  But for parents like me who still need to buy casual clothes for the little one in preschool, I advise you to discuss with your kid what they would like to wear to school.  Ask them to pick out favorites, knowing that they will get to wear their favored outfit everyday to school can help them look forward to the next day.  Comfort and practicality should come before fashion, so please, no heeled sandals for the little princess!

 

Let your child choose his own lunchbox and schoolbag.  I bring the 2 boys to the mall at the same time to avoid inggitan and to avoid the possibly of being blamed for picking the wrong cartoon character.  Try to catch a sale if there are still any.  Shop early (if possible); that back-to-school rush can sometimes be as bad as Christmas shopping on December 24.  Shop at the earliest date that you can and try to hit the mall before lunch.  Remember, you might be bringing along your kiddos so you wouldn’t want this trip to be stressful, making it fun will help make the concept of going back to the grind positive and cheerful.

 

Now that you’ve done all the preparation for school, do not forget how important the big day is.  It is natural for anybody to get the jitters at the start of a new school year.  If you sense any anxieties in your child, reassure him that he will be fine.  If possible, drive him to school and hand him to his teacher yourself.  This way, you also get to meet the person you are leaving your child with.  Tomas’ 1st day in preschool wasn’t easy but a trick I used was to point the clock out to him and tell him what time I will be there to pick him up.  I tried to be a few minutes early because a minute late could mean the longest minute for an unsettled child.  I felt that my son didn’t need the additional stress, he dealt with a whole lot while in school and the only thing that could have been in his mind was that clock and at how slow it was ticking.

 

At the end of the big day, give your child a huge hug; give them a moment to cool down and be your baby once again.  Ask them how their day went, listen, let them know that you are interested and that their day in school matters to you.

 

Keep calm, dear parent.  Before you know it, your child will be so comfortable in his new environment that they might ask you not to come so early to pick them up.

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Photo from Mylene Dizon's Instagram account

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