Tips to Prepare for the First Day of School

Susie McGee
Kids running out of school.

Need some first day of school tips to help quell your child's jitters? The key to starting off the year right is to stay organized and be prepared before the big day arrives.

Preparing for the First Day

Whether it's your child's first day of preschool, first day of middle school, or the first day of a new school in a new town, the pressures of a new environment can be intimidating and overwhelming to a child. You can help your child prepare for his or her first day of school to help ensure his success in adjusting.

Buy School Supplies

It might be easier if you grab those supplies on the run when you're doing some shopping by yourself, but including your child in the shopping trip will allow him to give some input into the notebook color he wants and which pencils he'd like to take to school. During the shopping spree, you may notice his excitement building as he thinks about the prospects this new school year will hold.

School Orientation

The idea of finding her classroom, the lunchroom, and even where to go in the morning when you drop her off can be quite daunting. Help to alleviate some nervousness by taking your child on a tour of the school the week before classes actually begin. While she might not get to meet her teacher, she can get acquainted with the layout of the school.

Get the Details

Don't wait until the first day of school to discover that the tardy bell is at 7:50 instead of 8:00 a.m. In addition, purchase required materials and supplies before that first day so your child doesn't have to stress over not having the right t-shirt and shorts for gym or the right calculator for math class. You should also familiarize yourself and your child with pick-up and drop-off procedures and locations, and purchase lockers, pay school fees, etc. in advance, if possible.

First Day of School Tips and Advice

Finally, the first day of school is here! What you should do on the first day of school may differ somewhat based on your child's age, but the following will generally get any age child ready for his or her first big day.

Get Plenty of Rest

Your child may have insomnia the night before the first day of school, so try to do something relaxing before bedtime, such as read a book together. Keep things as peaceful and low-key as possible, and try to downplay the importance of the big day if your child seems particularly anxious.

Gather Materials

Don't wait until the morning of school to gather your child's school supplies! If possible take them to school before the first day. If not, place them in her backpack or a grocery bag for easy transportation. Don't forget to label items that are specifically hers!

Organize Money

If your child is going to buy her lunch, snacks, or supplies, place money in individual envelopes labeled with her name, money amounts, and the purpose of the money. Some schools want parents to include the homeroom teacher's name on the envelope as well. Place all of these envelopes in a pencil bag, your child's purse, or a common folder that is easy for your child to see.

Eat Breakfast

Kids who eat a good solid breakfast are more alert during school. Don't fill up on sugar, but be sure to include some protein, fruit, dairy and whole grains.

Lay Out Clothing

You should help your child lay out her clothing the night before for two reasons. First, you can see what your child has chosen to wear and determine if it is appropriate. Second, if your child has to wear a school uniform, he or she can add a personal (school approved) item, such as a favorite watch, necklace, etc. without having to search for it the next morning.


Finally, try to avoid disagreements and any other stress-triggers on the first day of school. Do as much as you can to prepare you and your child for this significant day, and leave in plenty of time to deal with the chaos of new school year traffic. If you follow these first day of school tips, you and your child can get off to a great start in a new school year!

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Tips to Prepare for the First Day of School