Shirts still have that new clothes smell. The sneakers are pristine and unscuffed. You even wrote a sweet little note for the lunch boxes.
It’s the first day of school!
Except that your kids are brand new to the area. You aren’t 100% on the best route to the school. Everyone is a little nervous about riding the bus, finding their way around, and making new friends. Until you download the Ultimate Back-to-School Success Kit!
Get ready to ace this first big step in your new hometown!
The Military Family’s Ultimate Guide to the First Day of School
1. Stay in Touch with the School
Whether you arrived in June or August, it pays off to keep in contact with your child’s new school. Chances are good that you will have tons of questions. Checking in will give you a chance get answers.
When you contact the school, try to:
- arrange a tour of the school
- a meet-and-greet with potential teachers
- get contact info for the PTA or parents groups
- snag a copy of the school supply list
2. Sort then Shop
No seriously, sort your child’s stuff before you hit the stores. Not only will you save money, you’ll save time in the long run.
As you unpack from your PCS, sort your child’s school supplies into three groups:
- trash: anything damaged beyond reuse or donation
- donate: clothes that are too small or books that no longer hold interest
- keep: clothes, backpacks, notebook, pencils, erasers, etc. that are in good condition
As you sort, check off items on the supply list. Now that you know what you REALLY need, it’s time to shop.
3. Go to Meet the Teacher Day
If you do nothing else, you should absolutely do this. Meet the Teacher Day gives families the chance to get face time with the new teacher and classmates. You’ll be able to navigate the school, get a feel for the classroom, and maybe make a few new friends.
Going to Meet the Teacher can help everyone feel more comfortable in your new school.
4. Introduce Your Child
Military children move, a lot. It’s a given. However, not every teacher or school is familiar with the needs of MilKids.
Help your teacher and school get to know your child with All About Me for MilKids. This is a done-for-you printable that will give your new teacher the lowdown on your child. From your last duty station to their personal academic needs, you can share it all. Plus, there is one page just for kids, one page for parents, and a great checklist to help you get settled at your new school.
5. Get Involved
Keep your eyes peeled for club and sports sign-ups. Watch your child’s backpack for PTA fliers. Make sure you join the phone tree and email lists. Follow the school and parents’ groups on social media.
One of the best ways to feel at home in a school community is to put down roots. Joining the PTA (for you) and clubs or sports (for the kids) is a great way to make new friends and build relationships.
6. Talk to the Teacher
Send out an email to the teacher on the first day of school. Keep the tone very upbeat and positive.
Extend your best wishes for a successful first day, offer your assistance, and ask neutral questions about classroom routines. Share your contact information again, include your phone number and email address. Ask how your child is settling in on the first day and request that the teacher share any concerns with you.
This will set you on a great path from day one. You’ve placed yourself on the teacher’s team (offer to help, ready to be involved in the classroom) and shown that you are an involved parent (ready to address concerns, request to help the teacher, checking in on your child).
7. Do Something Fun
Think back on your childhood. What do you remember? I remember all the fun little ceremonies, traditions, and rituals my parents created for ordinary events. From the ice cream cone on the first day of softball season to the green apple juice on St. Patrick’s Day, I treasure those moments.
You can do the same thing. Create a First Day of School tradition. It could be anything, so get creative. Or you could steal one of these fun ideas:
- pancakes, with one number pancake to represent the grade your child is starting
- fun notes in lunches
- let your child pack their own lunch using whatever food they want (provide lots of “treats”)
- grab an ice cream cone or another fun treat after school
- give a new book, fancy socks, cool hat, or pretty hair accessories
- order or cook a special meal: pizza, tacos, sushi, meatballs
- use a Kisses jar to countdown to the next long weekend or school vacation
Do you feel ready for the First Day of School? Share your best back to school tips in the comments!
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