August 2013 Parenting Tip (Back to School Edition)

Back to school is here (where did the summer go?) and it’s time to prepare ourselves and our kids.  Here are some great back to school tips that will help for an easier transition for everyone in your family:



  •  Talk to your child regarding his feelings about the first day of school and don’t dismiss his emotions.  It might seem natural to respond with, “You have nothing to be nervous about, don’t be silly”, however your child is clearly anxious about school and those feelings need to be addressed.  A better response might be, “It is perfectly normal to be nervous and every boy and girl also starting pre-school is feeling the exact same way.”  If he knows he is not alone, chances are he will relate to his classmates better.  Let him know that change is a good thing and point out all the wonderful new adventures he will experience, including meeting new friends, learning exciting things, playing on the playground, etc.
  • Music is a wonderful way to open up communication with your child about his feelings towards school.  The song, “First Day of School”, from my fun and educational CD, “Music is Magical, Children’s Songs with Ellie” (a Parents’ Choice Award Winner), is a great parenting tool.  Perfect for children ages 0-6, parents can gauge how their child is feeling and use the lyrics as a guide for conversation.
  • Create a fun adventure together and head out to the store for school supplies. First let your child pick out his own lunchbox/backpack, which will get him excited for the first day of school.  End your day out together with a special treat like ice cream.  Associating positive elements with the idea of school will help for a smooth transition.
  • Summertime usually means a lack of schedule, which means the kids are most likely going to bed later and sleeping longer.  If they’re body is not acclimated to their normal school sleep schedule, they will be exhausted and cranky the first week of school, which is not the right way to start off the school year.  Giving your kids  a week is ideal so you can adjust bedtime earlier and earlier as the days progress.
  • Parents, pay close attention to your emotions on the first day of school.  It’s okay (and normal) to be sad, but it’s better to show excitement instead.  Children can sense how you are feeling so stay positive and save the tears for the Boo Hoo breakfast or for the car.  You will see many moms (and even a few dads) with tears in their eyes! (I was one of them).
  • Make the car ride to school a fun place to be and use music as a way to connect with your child.  Turn on the radio or pop in my award winning children’s CD, “Music is Magical, Children’s Songs with Ellie”, and choose “Fun in the Tub”, a great reggae inspired song, or “Jump”, an educational techno dance track perfect for getting your little one in the mood to learn his ABC’s and 123’s.  Sing together and create a dance party in your car by assigning different dance moves and getting silly.  Whether it’s fist pumping, head bopping, clapping or snapping, your child will show up to school happy, and will forget about his apprehension.
  • Set the right atmosphere for your child before school starts.  The rule in my house is that no one can go to school in a bad mood since I truly believe it sets the tone for the entire day.  As a parent, remind yourself to be extra patient on the morning of the first day of school, and make sure to leave extra time.  You don’t want to be late for the first day of school and make your child upset if he is already feeling sad and scared.
  • It’s always a good idea to pick out that special first day of school outfit the night before, so there aren’t any morning meltdowns.  Let your child pick something that is comfortable and don’t worry if it actually matches.  Trust me when I tell you the teacher won’t judge you and in the end, it’s really all about your child feeling confident and comfortable in his own skin.  (You should see some of the clothes my four year old leaves the house in).
  • It’s important to tell your child what to expect in terms of picking him up, so he knows you are actually coming back.  “Mommy cannot wait to pick you up on the pick up line at 2:00 this afternoon.” If you are going to be late or if the schedule is going to change for some reason, let him know in advance so he doesn’t feel abandoned or associate a negative feeling with school.  Avoiding surprises is always a good idea, especially on the first day of school.
  • Parents, back to school can be very stressful on us as well.  We also have to get used to a new schedule, which usually means waking up earlier and getting everyone out the door on time.   One way to prevent a parental meltdown in the morning is to be prepared and make things as easy as possible on yourself.    Doing everything the night before is the key and I mean everything!  Pack lunch boxes, lay out your sunglasses, your keys and prepare anything for the car ride you can anticipate the kids needing, such as drinks and snacks.  Make sure and pack backpacks with the items needed for the next day and lay out everyone’s shoes.  There is nothing more stressful and frustrating than searching for a shoe when the clock is ticking.  I even go so far as to set the table for breakfast, including putting the kid’s vitamins out.  This way, during the morning rush in my house, I don’t have to think and everything is done for me already.  I made the mistake of going to bed 30 minutes earlier one night instead of preparing for the next day and boy, did I pay the next morning.  Taking a little extra time at night will save you TONS of time in the morning and keep you sane! Trust me!
  • Take the time to write a note in your child’s lunchbox, especially on the first day of school. There is no right or wrong way to create the note.  It can be handwritten on paper or even on your child’s juice box if you are pressed for time.  A cute idea is to create your note on the computer and include a picture of you and your child.  It will light up your child’s face when he opens up his lunchbox and sees his surprise.  Many teachers will hang all of the parent’s lunchbox notes up on the wall and it’s a great feeling for your child to be part of that.
  • Make the first day of school a fun and memorable experience for your child and YOU!  Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the moment but don’t let it get to the point where your child starts to get embarrassed and annoyed (been there).


If you have great back to school tips you would like to share with Mommy Masters®, post on our Facebook page.



2 thoughts on “August 2013 Parenting Tip (Back to School Edition)”

  1. Good advice Ellie! I can say my boys (now in 6th grade) are horrible about staying organized and you definitely have to take some time the night before. My daughter on the other hand is much more ‘together’. It must be just the differences of boys and girls shining through. A word about anxiety… my daughter, a severe introvert and a bit sheltered had extremely bad anxiety during 6th grade. The transition to the bigger school was a nightmare, sadly we ended up taking her to a therapist who recommended we home school the remainder of the year. Fortunately, she was able to return for 7th grade, and now in 8th grade has much better confidence and maturity. My boys on the other hand are very outgoing already (too much so), they are much more confident and have much less anxiety (knock on wood). For parents that see their kids being shocked and anxious about school, I can only suggest you start younger and strengthen their confidence about school and even help them through the social ups/downs they will face as they get older. Ellie your advice is a good way to ease them and get them to open up about the stresses they face. Have them make friends with several kids from elementary school – especially if they are headed to the same middle school.

    Thanks again

    1. Hi Jon. Great to hear from you! Thanks for your comments. It’s so hard when your children are going through anxiety. Glad to hear your daughter is doing better. I believe when the parents know what’s going on at school, they can better assist their child. Have a great weekend!

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